Consumers Energy nesting boxes helping peregrines resurge

peregrine falcon
Workers hold a newly banded peregrine falcon born in a nesting box atop the J.H. Campbell plant in West Olive. (Consumers Energy)

OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Consumers Energy is celebrating a milestone in its efforts of helping threatened peregrine falcons resurge in Michigan.

Friday, workers with the utility company and Michigan Department of Natural Resources placed tracking bands on a month-old male peregrine falcon born in a nesting box atop the J.H. Campbell Generating Complex in West Olive.

A 2015 photo shows crews working to band peregrine falcon chicks at the Consumers Energy J.H. Campbell Generating Complex in West Olive. (May 21, 2015)

An estimated 85 peregrine falcons have hatched at two Consumers Energy plants. Approximately 40 were born at the Campbell site since 2004 and another 45 peregrine falcons were born at the now-shuttered B.C. Cobb plant in Muskegon from 2003 to 2015.

Workers relocated the two nesting boxes from the Cobb plant to a nearby lakefront hotel in 2016, but there hasn’t been any nesting activity there this spring.

A 2015 showing a Consumers Energy employee holding a peregrine falcon chick. (Courtesy Consumers Energy)

Peregrines remain a threatened species on the national level and endangered on the state level. The pesticide DDT is partly to blame for the birds’ plummeting numbers in the 1950s and 1960s. The U.S. banned the use of DDT in the early 1970s.

Peregrines born in West Michigan have been spotted as far away as Marquette, Chicago and Indanapolis, according to the DNR.