It appears Marv the peregrine is back in town for another mating season, a turn of events that signals yet another sign of spring.
In a message Friday, March 13, on the Grand Cities Bird Club listserv, local birder Dave Lambeth said he was able to get a partial reading of Marv’s leg band earlier that morning while the bird was perched at the nest box atop the UND water tower. At least one other bird club member had spotted the peregrine before him, Lambeth said.
The peregrine “was showing typical Marv behavior,” Lambeth said, sitting on the opening of the box facing inward.
“So I have no doubt,” Lambeth said, adding March 13 is within the range of dates Marv has returned in previous years. Last year, Marv was spotted on the tower Saturday, March 16.
Hatched in 2013 in Fargo, Marv is named after Fargo TV personality Marv Bossart, who died in April 2013. Raptor expert and licensed bander Tim Driscoll, of Grand Forks, banded the bird in 2013, dubbing him Marv. The peregrine showed up in Grand Forks the next spring and has been the patriarch of the UND water tower pair since 2014.
Driven to near-extinction after World War II by the chemical DDT, peregrine falcons in 1970 were listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act but were removed from the list in 1999, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Fargo and Grand Forks have the only known breeding pairs in North Dakota, while Minnesota by 2015 had about 70 confirmed pairs, the DNR said. Peregrines remain a "species of special concern" in Minnesota.