Peregrine party to raise money for falcon assistance

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 16, 2015

 The Peregrine Falcon was nearly extinct east of the Mississippi, but Michigan began its own recovery efforts in 1986.

The Peregrine Falcon was nearly extinct east of the Mississippi, but Michigan began its own recovery efforts in 1986.


ROSEVILLE — People wanting to help the peregrine falcon population bounce back in Michigan are hoping to raise funds at a Peregrine Falcon Party March 28 at the Roseville Knights of Columbus hall.

Peregrine Partners of Southeast Michigan and the Macomb Audubon Society are putting on the fundraiser.

According to Kim Harvey, one of the organizers, the money from the fundraiser will go toward a Michigan Department of Natural Resources program to track peregrine falcons, and for falcon rehabilitator Dave Hogan, who helps wild falcons heal from injuries.

“When they start flying, they aren’t very good at it, and we end up having a lot of downed birds in the area,” Harvey said. “He takes them in and gets their flight muscles back up.”

Christine Becher, second vice president of Macomb Audubon, said that rehabilitating the birds gets pretty costly — particularly for food. As raptors, peregrine falcons eat meat.

“They need to be fed, of course,” Becher said. “They eat quail every day, and it’s very expensive.”

The DNR has been trying to do a banding program for years to help track the falcons, but if the state cuts the funds, the banding program would be left in the lurch, Harvey said.

The fundraiser will feature Hogan with a falcon who was too injured to return to the wild, Harvey said, as well as a talk from DNR personnel about peregrine falcons.

Harvey said they are planning on offering pizza, salad, soft drinks, and — for additional money — beer and wine. The event will feature a silent auction and prize raffle with items ranging from photographs and artwork, to gift cards, gift baskets and field guides.

According to the DNR, by 1968, the entire peregrine falcon population east of the Mississippi River had collapsed and vanished. Michigan began its own recovery efforts in 1986, and as of 2014, there were 42 nest sites in Michigan — 16 of which are in southeast Michigan.

The recovery effort has gone well with the DNR’s “watchful eye,” Becher said. Locally, she said, there are birds nesting in Mount Clemens, at the former Campbell Ewald building in Warren and in downtown Detroit. Others have been hanging around the Grosse Pointes and Southfield, but have not actually nested permanently at any of those places.

There are also peregrine falcons nesting in downtown Flint, Pontiac and at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Becher said.

Harvey said the birds tend to nest around cliffs and love tall buildings.

Tickets are available through until March 23. Harvey said they may be able to make a couple sales after that point, but the organizers want to make sure there is enough pizza available for everyone to eat.

The Knights of Columbus hall is located at 16831 E. 12 Mile Road in Roseville. Tickets cost $25 per person.

“They’re really cool birds,” Harvey said. “Hopefully, we can get a lot of people to attend.”