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About Macomb County

2009 Falcon News


Cass pays a surprise visit, poses for impromptu photo shoot

June 22, 2009 --- One of Macomb County’s new Peregrine falcons paid a visit to the 8th Floor southwest ledge of the Administration Building in Mount Clemens. Cass, one of the two female falcons hatched this year, decided to show off her new adult feathers. The bird took after her namesake and posed for photos worthy of a governor’s oil painting portrait. She was named after a Michigan’s second governor Lewis Cass by Macomb County Commissioner Frank Accavitti of Roseville. Cass perched outside of a window of a storage area located behind the Office of Public Affairs in the Administration Building until she saw a pigeon and darted after it. For the last few weeks, Cass and her sister Tucker and brother Wetzel, have been practicing their flying and hunting skills in the skies of Mount Clemens. Soon, the youngsters will leave the area to seek out their own territories and there is a good chance we may never see them again. The youngsters were hatched by their parents Nick and Hathor on a ledge on the 11th Floor of the County Building roughly two months ago.


The three new falcons fledge; Cass, Tucker and Wetzel ready to leave nest soon

June 16, 2009 --- The three new falcons fledge; Cass, Tucker and Wetzel ready to leave nest soon – The new baby Peregrine falcons have begun to stretch their wings and take to the sky. Kariann Anderson, falcon caretaker from the Department of Natural Resources and Fledge Watch Volunteer Sue Stevens saw male falcon Wetzel circling the County Building in Mount Clemens on Monday, June 15. Soon afterward, the two female falcons – Tucker and Cass – decided to leave the southeast ledge on the 11th Floor to take their first flights, too.“Wetzel had a bit of an awkward landing, but he made it safely to the roof,” said Anderson. “Cass and Tucker look like strong fliers, too.”Anderson gave a bird’s-eye account of the new falcons’ first flights.“I saw Tucker on the roof of the County Building while Cass flew to the ledge,” said Anderson. “Then Tucker flew toward the Court Building and came back to land on the County Building next to one of the stone heads near the top. Cass then crossed Cass Avenue, flew to the Administration Building and then returned to the southeast corner of the County Building. Wetzel was in the corner of the top tier above the nest the whole time Tucker and Cass flew.”Cass, Tucker and Wetzel are going to hone their hunting skills under the guidance of their parents, Nick and Hathor, and then soon leave their home in Mount Clemens to find territory of their own.


Peregrine chicks are named: Tucker, Wetzel and Cass

May 27, 2009 --- The Peregrine falcon chicks were named and banded on Wednesday, May 27. The two females were named Tucker and Cass and the male was named Wetzel. This is the second set of three Peregrine falcons raised by parents Nick and Hathor. “The Peregrine falcons have learned what residents already know, that Macomb County is a great place to raise a family,” said County Commissioner Frank Accavitti Jr. of Eastpointe. Each of the three young falcons were given special bands around one of their legs so birdwatchers can identify them. Accavitti named one of the new female falcons Cass, after Lewis Cass, Michigan's second governor. Accavitti had a painting of Lewis Cass by his desk when he served as a state representative for the 42nd District. Lewis Cass was known as "The Baby Governor" because he was only 28 when he was first elected in 1813. Cass’ banding information is black, sideways S and green sideways D. The second falcon, a male, was named Wetzel, after Walter Wetzel, Macomb County's only Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. He was born in Huntington, W. Va., and entered the Army while living in Roseville. He died in Birken, Germany, on April 3, 1945, when he threw himself on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers during WWII. Wetzel’s banding information is black 68 and red A. The third Peregrine falcon was named Tucker, after Alice Tucker, the first woman elected to Macomb County public office. She was elected register of deeds in 1932. Tucker’s band information is black, sideways S and green sideways E. The next big step for Wetzel, Cass and Tucker is to learn to fly and hunt, which should happen in the upcoming weeks. Staff members from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Detroit Zoo were on hand to perform medical tests, weigh and band the birds.


Nick and Hathor come through in the clutch: Three eggs hatch!
Clementine spotted in Ohio

May 8, 2009 --- It is déjà vu’ all over again for Nick and Hathor as three of their eggs hatched in early May, just like last year. Kariann Anderson, Peregrine falcon specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said the new chicks hatched sometime during Saturday, May 2, or Sunday, May 3. “There is one egg left in the nest,” said Anderson. “Hathor is still caring for it but it most likely will not hatch.” Nick and Hathor now have the dutiful task of protecting their chicks from the weather until they are large enough to survive unattended. As of now, the Peregrine chicks’ bodies cannot control their own temperature, so Nick and Hathor have to keep them warm in cold weather and even cool them off should the weather get too hot. The chicks should be developed enough to be left alone in about 10 days after hatching. Web cam visitors should not be alarmed if Hathor and Nick leave the chicks alone to go hunting for food for themselves or the youngsters. Anderson said the new falcons will receive their identification bands sometime during the week of May 25. “We have to wait until their feet are fully grown before banding them,” said Anderson. After the banding, the next big step for the birds is fledging, when the chicks have the strength and feathers to fly for the first time. Macomb County will continue to bring you the latest news on the Peregrine falcons.


Clementine defects to the Buckeye State

Nick and Hathor’s first clutch of eggs in 2008 also yielded three chicks, named Clair, Clementine and Lenny. As all young falcons do, they stayed around the nest for awhile and then struck out on their own. Although they received identification bands, it is nearly impossible to track their whereabouts. Sometimes, you get lucky. Clementine was spotted by Peregrine falcon fans at Ohio State University. Anderson said she was thrilled to learn that Clementine was doing fine. “There is a high fatality rate with new chicks,” said Anderson. Clementine’s biggest obstacles since hatching were to weather her first winter and to get her own territory without getting into any life-threatening fights with other falcons that may be protecting their space.