SAULT STE. MARIE — Peregrine falcons returning to the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge this year will need to get ready for their close-ups: the International Bridge Administration has installed a new nest camera to allow people to watch them online.
According to a press release, the “FalCam” is coming online just in time for the seasonal return of the endangered raptors. The video live steam can be found HERE.
The IBA partnered with Siemens and Lighthouse.net to get the camera online. The FalCam may also see improvements in the future, such as fine-tuning the vantage point and the zoom factor.
While setting up the FalCam, IBA staff saw one of the birds (as pictured above). According to the press release, birds have also appeared at nest boxes on the Portage Lake Lift Bridge between Houghton and Hancock. That webcam can be accessed HERE.
Last year, a pair of peregrine falcons successfully nested on the International Bridge, hatching four chicks.
“This site has hatched 24 falcon chicks since 2010, when we put in the nest box and started counting,” said International Bridge Engineer Karl Hansen in the statement. “There were more before that but we don’t know the number.”
Michigan lost its peregrine falcons in the 1960s and 1970s due to the use of DDT and other environmental contaminants. Since conservation efforts started in the mid-1980s, the number of peregrine nests has slowly increased. Now there are about 40 falcon pairs actively trying to nest statewide, with one to two new pairs discovered most years.
The peregrine falcon has been removed from the federal endangered species list, but is listed as an endangered species in Michigan, protected by state and federal law. Peregrines have adapted to city habitats, nesting on tall buildings, smokestacks and bridges around the world.