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Lansing BWL wraps up 16-year falcon banding program

Jenna Braford
Dina Maneva, known as the "Falcon Lady', picks up an eyass in BWL's final year of placing identification bands on the birds

Staff from Lansing Board of Water and Light and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources teamed up Tuesday to band baby peregrine falcons for the final year of the program.

The process involved safely removing the four, three-week-old chicks from their nests and attaching identification bands to each ankle.

The bands help wildlife conservationists track migration patterns and survival rates of peregrine populations.

Dina Maneval, accountant and resident “Falcon Lady” at BWL, has looked after the peregrine nests since they first appeared on BWL property some 20 years ago.

“When the falcons started to lay their eggs up at our roof area, and I noticed in 2004 that it’s the peregrine falcon, I said, ‘Okay, we’re going to protect these guys.’”

The falcons nest at two BWL locations, the Eckert and Erickson Power Stations.

After placing the leg bands on the baby falcons, called eyasses, Maneval pulled names proposed by Moores Park Elementary students. The three male chicks were named Sonic, Blue, and Asher. The female chick was named Marty.

Though the adult falcons swirled and screeched in the air while their children were banded, the process only lasted about 20 minutes.

Maneval said this will be the last year they band the falcons, and for good reason. Because the peregrine falcon was moved from the national and state endangered species lists, tracking the falcons is no longer necessary.

BWL offers a24-hour livestream of both peregrine falcon nests.

Despite discontinuing the banding process, BWL said they will continue to maintain the nests and host peregrine families at their power stations.

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