Biologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife estimate 65 young peregrine falcons fledged from 21 successful nests across the state this year. In 2007, 56 peregrine falcon chicks fledged from 19 nests. Biologists were able to band 60 of these young falcons from 18 successful nest sites during 2008; limited access at some nest sites prevented all young from being banded.
"We had a record number of peregrine falcons nesting in Ohio during 2008 and they had a banner year," said Dave Scott, peregrine falcon project coordinator for the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
In all, 27 territorial pairs of peregrine falcons were monitored around Ohio in 2008. Eggs were produced at a minimum of 25 sites during 26 nesting attempts, with one pair "recycling" and producing a second nest after an initial failure.
Four of the six falcon pairs in Cleveland, along with two pairs in Toledo and individual pairs in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Eastlake, Ironton, Lakewood, Lima, Lorain, Middletown (Butler County), Moscow (Clermont County), Oregon (Lucas County), Shaker Heights (Cuyahoga County), and Youngstown produced between one and five young per nest. Nests located in Aberdeen (Brown County), Cleveland (2 pairs), and the village of Cleves (Hamilton County) failed this season. Two new pairs monitored this year using bridges in Summit County and Scioto County may have attempted to nest; however, access to their nest sites was limited and no eggs or young were seen.
"After the nesting season and prior to migration, Ohio's peregrine falcon population is estimated to reach 110 to 130 birds," Scott added. Included in that number are individual falcons that have been spotted in other areas of the state. These birds, as well as the territorial pairs that did not nest this season, could return next year to establish territories and perhaps successful nests. Migratory movements will start in late summer and early fall. Ohio's birds probably spend their winters in the southern United States and Central America.
Anyone interested in following peregrine falcon activity in Ohio can view the latest updates online at www.wildohio.com. The peregrine falcon page features information on the bird's history, nest status, and links to cameras that record activity at several of the nest locations across Ohio each spring.
In 1989, wildlife experts with ODNR initiated a program to establish peregrine falcons in Ohio. For more than a decade, peregrines have successfully nested in Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo.
Ohio's peregrine falcon management program is funded by donations to the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund and sales of the cardinal license plate. Donations may be made to the Division of Wildlife, 2045 Morse Road, G-1, Columbus, OH 43229-6693, or by marking the check-off contribution box on the Ohio Income Tax form. Cardinal plates can be purchased at a local deputy registrar or by calling 1-800-PLATES-3. Additional funding is provided, in part, through matching funds from the United States Fish & Wildlife Service State Wildlife Grants Program that benefits species of greatest conservation need.