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Falcon chicks hatch at Spartan Stadium

Peregrine falcons feed their chicks atop MSU's Spartan Stadium
Courtesy image
Spartan Stadium Falcon Cam
Peregrine falcons feed their chicks atop MSU's Spartan Stadium

At least three of four eggs laid by a peregrine falcon in a nesting box at Michigan State University’s Spartan Stadium have now hatched.

Viewers of the MSU Fisheries and Wildlife Club webcam began noticing the first signs of hatching late last week. Now, the parent birds have been seen feeding at least three babies.

Club president Molly Engleman says the chicks are doing well.

“Peregrine falcons, they do have one of the fastest growth rates in the animal kingdom,” Engleman said. “So, we’re already seeing them fluffing up their down feathers. They’re getting bigger, and they’re asking for food, which is a good thing.”

She says their downy feathers will be replaced by flight feathers in about 40 days, when they should begin to learn to hunt on their own.

“Hopefully, we’ll see them flying from the nest,” Engleman added. “And the parents will still help them some, feed them some a little bit, but they’ll be pretty self-sufficient by that point.”

Falcons have been seen around Spartan Stadium for about five years. The club erected the nesting box just last year, and the two falcons moved in March.

They were once endangered in the U.S. and remain under endangered status in Michigan.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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