Officials said 18 pairs of peregrine falcons attempted nests in Ohio.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The lone surviving peregrine falcon chick here has left the nest successfully, the last chick tracked by state wildlife officials to do so.
Dave Scott, peregrine falcon project coordinator for the Division of Wildlife of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said the chick is the offspring of a late-nesting pair of peregrine falcons who made a home in the city.
He said the pair had first nested unsuccessfully, so the second nest attempt was late in the nesting season.
Scott said 2006 was a very successful year for falcons nesting in Ohio. The birds pair off in early February to begin establishing a nest, he said.
Scott said the falcons eat other birds such as pigeons and sparrows. If they are in an urban area with plenty of food and can find shelter from the weather, they don't migrate far, he said.
Chicks leave the nest at about 6 weeks and wildlife officials attempt to band them at 3 weeks, Scott said.
In 2006 district staff identified 20 pairs around the state, including a new pair on the Interstate 480 Bridge in southern Cuyahoga County. There were 18 territorial pairs nested. Pairs in Lorain and at the I-480 Bridge were not known to have nested this year.
There were 19 nesting attempts made by these 18 pairs, and the first nest by the Youngstown pair failed. The 18 successful nests fledged 60 chicks. In 2005, 18 successful nests fledged 57 chicks.
Officials estimate about 72 eggs were produced in 2006. There were 63 eggs that hatched, and 61 chicks lived to 3 weeks and were banded.
Scott said 60 chicks fledged successfully with two in rehabilitation and four known dead.
He said wildlife experts with ODNR began reintroducing peregrine falcons into Ohio in 1989.
Scott said Ohio's peregrine falcon management program is funded by donations to the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund and sales of the cardinal Ohio license plates.
Additional funding is provided through matching funds from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service state wildlife grants program that benefits species of greatest conservation need.