UW-Green Bay Welcomes Batch Of Peregrines

It’s The First Time The Once Endangered Bird Has Thrived On Campus

Peregrine Falcon
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus is home to its first nestlings of peregrine falcons.

The birds were once thought to be on the brink of extinction but have made homes in urban settings.

Mother Mimi and “stepfather” Rupert are nurturing four male falcon chicks near the top of the 11 story Cofrin Library on the UWGB campus, said Thomas Erdman, curator of the university’s Richter Museum of Natural History.

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The chicks born at UWGB were fathered by an un-banded male peregrine. Rupert drove him away but Erdman said the stepfather is a good provider or prey for the hatchlings.

Erdman said it’s common for a non-related male to provide for chicks and their mother.

The peregrine was almost extinct in the 1960s because of pesticides and habitat loss, but that Wisconsin helped rescue the species, Erdman said.

“Wisconsin was the first state in the union to ban DDT in 1969, 1970,” Erdman said. “The next year it was banned nationwide.”

Now Erdman said the falcons are thriving mostly in urban areas. He estimates there are 34 “active nests” of breeding pairs in the state.

“Most of those, however, are on power plants, smokestacks and tall buildings. They’re mostly in urban cities. There are very few, like, on the Wisconsin and the Mississippi but that’s slowly reocurring,” Erdman said.

The birds were born this spring and are almost ready to leave the nest.