- Associated Press - Thursday, August 11, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - The city’s peregrine falcon pair, Zeus and Maltese, are empty nesters once more.

Having spent the past three months learning to fly and hunt, the couple’s three chicks recently flew the coop, so to speak, local raptor rehabilitator Carol Riewe said Tuesday.

“We haven’t seen the chicks for several days now,” Riewe said. “No one is roaring in the evenings screaming for food, so we have to assume they’re out there on their own, and Godspeed to them.”

The chicks, one male and two females, hatched in May. They began flying in June, soaring between downtown buildings at first before venturing farther out to hunt and play with mom and dad.

Recently, the chicks had been spotted tail-chasing, “dogfighting” and chasing other birds, Riewe said - typical hunting behaviors.

“They know what they’re supposed to do, it’s just a matter of them doing it successfully,” she said.

The chicks will likely remain within a few hundred miles of South Bend based on typical peregrine behavior, Riewe said. Previous chicks have been spotted in Wisconsin and Michigan City. Maltese is from Milwaukee.

As for Zeus and Maltese, they’ll continue to hang around downtown, Riewe said, but won’t venture back into the nesting box atop the County-City Building until breeding season rolls around in February.

Zeus, for his part, has been spotted roosting on a window ledge on the west side of the Tower Building, directly north of the County-City Building, she said.

“Once the youngsters leave, (the parents) don’t come back to” the nest, Riewe said. “It’s not a home like in our situation; it’s just a temporary spot.”

Peregrines have been nesting in South Bend since 1993, when the state Department of Natural Resources, in an effort to reintroduce breeding pairs of the birds to the wild in Indiana, first placed a nesting box here.

While no longer considered an endangered species, the peregrine falcon remains protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It is listed as a “special concern” species in Indiana, requiring monitoring.

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Source: South Bend Tribune, https://bit.ly/2bhyRYU

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Information from: South Bend Tribune, https://www.southbendtribune.com


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