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WORTH A LOOK: Peregrine banding set for Monday below UND water tower

Tiffany Muellner, a student at the University of Minnesota-Crookston, holds a pair of peregrine falcon chicks that were banded in June 2015 near the UND water tower. A public event to band this year's peregrine chicks is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday at the same site below the UND water tower. (Eric Hylden photo)

There’s been a growing interest in Grand Forks’ peregrine falcon population since the first pair nested in 2008 atop the old Smiley water tower.

For good reason; Grand Forks’ contribution to the peregrine falcon recovery is just one of the success stories in the comeback of a species that once was on the brink of extinction.

Terminator, a female hatched in 2006 in Brandon, Man., is the matriarch of Grand Forks’ peregrine population, and she has produced chicks locally every year since 2008, making a smooth transition from the old Smiley tower, which was torn down in 2009, to the UND water tower the next year.

With help from Marv, her male companion for the past three years, Terminator has produced four chicks again this year.

Grand Forks raptor expert Tim Driscoll will band the chicks during a public banding event set for 1 p.m. Monday below the UND water tower.

The tower is adjacent to Starcher Hall, 10 Cornell St., on the UND campus.

Watching Driscoll band the peregrine chicks has become a popular attraction in recent years, and about 70 people attended last year’s session.

As in previous years, a couple of adventurous climbers will scale the 150-foot UND water tower to retrieve the chicks from the nest box for Driscoll to band and name. Naming the chicks is a popular practice because it’s easier to remember a name than a band number.

Once they’re banded, the chicks will be returned to the nest box.

“Malala,” one of the chicks Driscoll banded last year, was photographed and her band number confirmed this past winter on Padre Island in south Texas.

Grand Forks and Fargo have the only two known nesting peregrines in North Dakota.

There’s no charge to attend Monday’s banding event. For more information, contact Driscoll at (701) 772-1222.

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998.  A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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