Raptor Researchers Band Peregrine Falcon Chicks At UND

Students and biology faculty from the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota-Crookston took part in a rare scientific opportunity Wednesday, June 13, 2012, analyzing and banding three peregrine falcon chicks that recently hatched at the tall UND water tower.

The raptor researchers, led by UMC’s Tim Driscoll of the Urban Raptor Research Project, monitored the chicks’ health and drew blood samples that could be used to check for avian diseases. The researcher use special types of metal bands attached to a leg on each falcon to keep track of them. Driscoll said.

Susan Felege, assistant professor of biology at UND, also was present to lend support and expertise to the project. Apart from raptor research, Felege also is involved in another interesting project in the North Dakota oil patch, where she is studying environmental impacts on nesting and mating habits of sharp-tailed grouse.

On June 13, Driscoll, Felege and several others watched as the peregreine nestlings were carefully lowered down the more than 100-foot-tall water tower to the waiting ams of the researchers, all the while, the chicks’ parents – Roosevelt and Terminator – circled worriedly overhead. Once finished, the researchers returned the falcons to their nest — a bit frightened but unharmed.

Roosevelt and Terminator have been nesting at the tower since about 2009. The eggs were laid in April and hatched in late May. The mating pair has produced six other chicks.

Researchers say there is only one other mating pair of peregrine falcons in North Dakota. The other pair lives in Fargo. There are dozens throughout Minnesota.

Susan Felege, assistant professor, UND Department of Biology, 701.777.2254, or susan.felege@und.edu

Tim Driscoll, teaching specialist, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota-Crookston, tgdrisco@umn.edu