2023 RRP Highlights: Savanna feeds her new hatchlings

We’re continuing our 2023 highlights with a look at Peregrine Falcon Savanna. Savanna, who nested at Great Spirit Bluff with Newman this year, was a 2019 hatch from Bank of the West in Fargo, MN. Savanna was named after Savanna Greywind, a young Native American woman who was murdered in 2017. We were thrilled to see Savanna’s namesake falcon show up at GSB this spring.

Savanna is an amazing falcon mother. I hope we watch her for many years to come.

Falcons instinctively respond to their offspring’s vocalizations and needs, but first-time parents don’t always understand how to incubate, feed, or brood young. What kind of mother would Savanna be? We waited with bated breath for her first egg to hatch. As it turned out, we had nothing to worry about. Savanna was an excellent, attentive mother from the very beginning! She diligently brooded her little nestlings without rubbing away their fluffy white down, fed them tiny morsels of flesh instead of dropping whole birds on them, and protected them from the weather. Her four little falcons grew strong and healthy under her care. As chat moderator Iris put it ‘We were so worried Savanna would not know how to feed her hatchlings. It was wonderful to watch her feed tiny little bits!”

March 10, 2023: Peregrine falcon Savanna at Great Spirit Bluff.
March 10, 2023: Peregrine falcon Savanna at Great Spirit Bluff

The nestlings’ prodigious appetites and loud squees kept both parents on their talons and sometimes had us reaching for the mute button as the little falcons ate and grew and ate and grew and ate and grew some more! We banded them on May 27, just a few days before their brown and cream juvenile feathers began poking through their fluffy white down. But tragedy struck on June 12th when an owl killed Savanna. She died fiercely protecting her young, an amazing falcon mother to the very end of her life. We’ve seen falcons die before, but we were crushed. We had hoped to watch her for many more years to come.

I know this story doesn’t end happily, but falcon Savanna gave us a great deal of joy and we wanted to recognize her in our highlights.