As parents of the Toledo area’s biggest peregrine falcon brood this year, The University of Toledo’s resident adult pair, Belle and Allen, could claim this year’s crown — if they weren’t so busy feeding the four voracious offspring who received their names and leg bands last Tuesday.
A team from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) again navigated the winding approach to the top of University Hall Tower where the peregrines’ nesting box is situated. With the parents wheeling and swooping overhead, the four young falcons were tucked into blanket sacks and carried to a mobile banding station ODNR set up next to the Student Union. Protected from the morning’s cold drizzle, the three-week-old birds were fitted with identification bands and had their blood drawn for genetic testing, providing vital stats for the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, where all North American birds of prey are registered.
The peregrines’ relative sizes made sexing easy, and the three large females and one smaller male were given names picked by UT employees and the Toledo Naturalists Association, the latter choosing to honor noted ornithologist Harold Mayfield and longtime association member Myrtle Sarver. Unity and Leela rounded out the quartet’s monikers.
Once the newest members of UT’s peregrine family were returned to the nest, ODNR loaded up their vehicles to band three chicks at the Commodore Perry nest in downtown Toledo. The two eggs at the Bay Shore Power Plant nest in Oregon will require a future visit.
Belle and Allen have so far produced nine young; this year’s chicks will be learning to fly within two or three weeks. The process of going airborne has its risks, so if you happen to see a young peregrine down, call Grounds at 419.530.1011 so UT personnel can return the fledging flier to the safety of the nest.