Frequently Asked Questions

See the answers to some of the most asked questions about Peregrine Falcons, the Kalamazoo Peregrine Falcons, and the web cam. Have another question that wasn't answered? Contact us via the contact page.

Where is the Peregrine Falcon found?

This species has 18 recognized races and is found on all continents except Antarctica.  Peregrines are migratory, except in urban areas that have abundant prey, such as pigeons and starlings, throughout the winter. In North America, they live in open landscapes and traditionally nest on ledges on high cliffs where they are free from predators.  Nest sites in natural settings are called eyries.  In urban settings, the birds will nest on skyscrapers or bridges which simulate high cliffs.

How big are Peregrine Falcons?

Peregrine falcons are raptors (birds of prey) and are about the size of a crow. They have long pointed wings with a wingspan of 36 – 44 inches.  Adult birds have slate-grey backs and barred breasts. Immature birds are more brown in color and have pronounced streaking in the breast. A notable feature in both males and females is their moustache.  Females are larger in size than males, typical for most birds of prey.

How fast can Peregrine Falcons fly?

Peregrine falcons are known for their powerful and fast flying ability and can average 40 – 55 mph.  They are aerial hunters and will drop down on their prey from high above in amazing dives (called “stoops”) that can start 300 – 3000 feet above their prey and reach speeds of over 200 mph. Because of this, they have been reported to be the world’s fastest bird.

What do Peregrine Falcons eat?

Their diet consists of a wide variety of small birds, such as pigeons, starlings, songbirds, and occasionally shorebirds or small ducks. 

How many eggs do the falcons lay? How long do they take to hatch?

Peregrine Falcons lay 3 – 4 creamy to brownish eggs dotted with red and brown spots which hatch after about 30 days of incubation.  The female does most of the incubation, although the male will take a turn while the female goes in search of food.  After hatching, the nestlings (called eyases) stay in the nest for 35 – 42 days before they are ready to fledge.  After fledging, the young birds continue to rely on their parents for another 4 – 6 weeks for food and to master the flying and hunting skills they need in order to survive.  On average, only two young birds successfully fledge per nest each year. 

How long does it take for eyases to learn to fly?

After hatching, the eyases stay in the nest for 35 – 42 days before they are ready to fledge (take their first flight). Then, they rely on their parents for another 4 –6 weeks for food and to master flying and hunting skills.

Where are the nest and webcam located? When was it installed?

Two cameras and a microphone were installed in January 2015 overlooking the installed nesting box on the top of the Fifth Third Bank building, downtown Kalamazoo.

Who are the Peregrine Falcons that nest in Kalamazoo?

The female falcon’s name is Rebecca and she hatched in South Bend, IN in 2009.  Rebecca and an unbanded male successfully fledged four chicks in 2014, one of which was banded and named Promise after he fell, was rehabilitated, and released back into the wild.  A new male arrived probably late in 2014 and is now paired with Rebecca. This male hails from Lima, OH where he was hatched and banded in 2010.  He was named Kewpee by the banders.  

How did Promise get its name?

In July 2014, Fifth Third Bank hosted a contest to name the young falcon that was banded and released back into the wild. Community members sent in their suggestions, and a committee made the final decision of “Promise,” submitted by the Fuller Family. The family says, “This name pays homage to the Kalamazoo Promise and gives the bird’s name a distinct Kalamazoo connection, honoring its birthplace no matter where it may end up. It also speaks to the promise of more peregrines in Kalamazoo for years to come. . .”