Hondo and Deborah, the two peregrine falcons living on campus at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, welcomed two new additions this week.
The two adult peregrines made their home on top of Gruenhagen Conference Center in January and have been living there throughout the nesting and egg-laying season, which historically happens between March and May, said Greg Septon, a peregrine specialist with the Wisconsin Peregrine Society.
Two of the three peregrines hatched May 24. There is one egg remaining in the nesting box, which was installed earlier this spring to help keep the birds safe from other activity on the roof of the conference center.
“Prior to the eggs hatching we wanted to avoid the site so we didn’t spook them, now we want to avoid it so we don’t get hurt,” said Custodial Services Supervisor Dawn Dettlaff, who is overseeing safety of the peregrines, as well as monitoring their development through a webcam, which was placed near the nesting box.
Septon agreed that it’s best to leave the falcons alone and “stay clear of them, especially when they have young, as they will defend their nest from intruders.”
The webcam has had thousands of views, as the peregrines have been embraced by the UW Oshkosh campus community, said Assistant Director for Residence Life Victor Alatorre.
“The surveillance of the nesting of these beautiful animals has been incredibly positive,” said Alatorre. “We’ve received positive comments from a wide variety of constituents including current staff, students and alumni. I know that access to this experience has become a daily routine for many at UW Oshkosh and elsewhere. It is a reason for alumni to click back to the campus domain and explore what UW Oshkosh has been nurturing.”
Septon said the young will stick around the nest for at least two to six weeks, or until they learn to hunt on their own. The third egg should hatch within four to five days, said Septon.
In June, Septon will come to UW Oshkosh to band the young peregrines. Using the proper safety precaution measures, the young will be removed from the nesting box, taken inside and banded, which is a way for experts to better understand the peregrine’s life history, how long they live, how many young they produce and where they travel to, said Septon.
“In the end, banding them helps us better manage their populations,” he said.
It is probable the site at Grunehagen Conference Center could become an established nesting site for Hondo and Deborah.
“Hopefully in the future they’ll feel comfortable enough that they will call UW Oshkosh home,” said Dettlaff.
A contest will be held to name the newest peregrines.