Visitor at Great Spirit Bluff

Great Spirit Bluff had a visitor yesterday! Nina M/04, a 2019 HY Peregrine falcon banded by Greg Septon at the UW-Milwaukee Engineering and Mathematical Sciences building, dropped by the nest box to visit Newman as he incubated eggs.

We talked to our Board, who found the whole encounter quite interesting! Dave Kester, Jim Robison, and John Howe all pointed out her non-aggressive body language and behavior, including the adorable semi-chup vocalizations we hear at the beginning of the video, and her slight bows, which we also see in falcon courtship. She makes it clear that she is not interested in an aggressive interaction and Newman responds in kind, although he doesn’t get off the eggs to engage with her. Greg Septon of the Wisconsin Peregrine Society has seen this sort of interaction at his sites, but it is the first time we’ve ever seen it at ours. Everyone believed that this interaction could have been more aggressive had Nova been in the box, but she was out stretching her wings and Nina left before she came back.

I loved a chance to see a one-year old falcon: I see nestlings and falcons two and older, but this is the first time I’ve ever gotten a close look at a wild one-year-old! Note her brown plumage and the pale stripes on her head. A two year-old would still have a few brown feathers, but her head would not have the distinctive white stripe we see on Nina. And that baby chup – so cute! I would love to know whether that is a distinct vocalization on its own, or just an immature falcon attempting to ‘speak’ like an adult. Either way, I hope you enjoyed this video as much as we did! We’re anticipating hatch around May 3 for this nest.