City of South Bend Peregrine Falcon Cam
- 06-12-2013: Its a Girl! View photos of Falcon Chick banding
- 02-28-2013: Guinevere spotted with new mate
- 06-19-2012: Zephyr dies of head injury
About the Peregrine Falcon
The Peregrine Falcon is a medium-sized bird about the size of a crow. Adult birds are 15 to 20 inches tall- females being one-third larger than males- and have a wing span of 36 to 44 inches. Their long pointed wings, tail, and strong 'rowing' wing beats are distinctive in flight. Once almost wiped out due to DDT, Peregrines have made a strong comeback through captive breeding and reintroduction programs.
In 1993, South Bend was the site of a Department of Natural Resources reintroduction, releasing and monitoring 15 young captive-bred birds as they became familiar with a life in the wild.
Historic sites were along cliff and river bluffs and, although they still use these locations, they have made good use of tall city buildings which mimic those high altitudes environments. Cities also provide an abundant food supply of birds- pigeons, sparrows, starlings, and other species as well. A Peregrine diving on prey can attain speeds of 200 mph, making it the world's fastest living animal. View a National Geographic story highlighting the flying capabilities of the Peregrine.
Guinever and Zephyr, the Peregrines-in-residence in South Bend, have been here since 2003. They have raised a brood each year and remain here through the winter. Incubation of the 3 or 4 eggs takes approximately 32 days, with Guinevere performing most of the incubation, while Zephyr provides food and relieves her for short periods of time. The chicks are banded at about 21 to 25 days of age and fledge the nest around 40 days. As fledgling approaches, the young birds can be seen out on the front of the nest box and on the perch that extends outward. They are usually flying pretty well in a week's time, following and interacting with the parents, and will leave the area in another six weeks.
'Our' Falcon Family Facts:
- Guinevere arrived unbanded (we subsequently banded her) so her origins are unknown.
- Zephyr was released at a cliff on the Mississippi in Muscatine, Iowa, 1999. He lost his right foot in the spring of 2011 in an apparent trap injury, so his hunting ability is diminished.
- Zephyr dies of head injury, 6-19-2012.
- A female chick from our 2007 nest was part of a nesting pair in Racine, Wisconsin.
The word peregrine means 'wanderer,' and the young birds will do just that until they are two years of age and ready to find a mate and raise their own offspring.