The Wait For Terminator The Female Peregrine Continues At The UND Water Tower

Erika Kolbow (left) of Turtle River State Park and licensed bander and raptor expert Tim Driscoll of Grand Forks handle peregrine falcon chicks during a June 2017 banding event below the UND water tower. Kolbow and Driscoll banded the three chicks — two males and one female — and climbers then returned the young peregrines to their nest box atop the UND water tower. (Photo/ Brad Dokken, Grand Forks Herald)

The wait for Terminator, the female half of Grand Forks’ peregrine pairing, continues at the UND water tower.

Hatched in 2006 in Brandon, Man., where she also was banded, Terminator has produced every falcon chick in Grand Forks since 2008, when nesting peregrines first were documented in Grand Forks.

According to Grand Forks raptor expert Tim Driscoll, a female peregrine was spotted at the UND water tower March 25 but wasn’t banded. Marv, the male peregrine, was seen by the tower for the first time this year Saturday, March 17.

Dave Lambeth, often called “the dean of Grand Forks birders,” saw the unbanded female at the tower with Marv, but she since has left the area, Driscoll said.

“I went over and didn’t find her, and no one has seen her since,” Driscoll said. “As far as we know, she’s gone. Marv is still there.”

If a mate shows up, this will be Marv’s fifth year of producing offspring in Grand Forks.

Because female peregrines typically return to the nest site later than the males, Driscoll says he’s not too concerned about not yet seeing Terminator at the tower. Peregrines don’t migrate together, but by some spectacular instinct return to the same nesting site every year.

Terminator first showed up in Grand Forks on April 9, 2008, with subsequent first sightings April 10, 2009; March 27, 2010; April 7 or 8, 2011; March 26, 2012; March 26, 2013; April 6, 2014; March 29, 2015; March 24, 2016; and March 23, 2017 — her earliest return to date.

“I don’t really worry about Terminator until about the first of April,” Driscoll said.

Terminator has produced 29 chicks, including two that died in the nest, since 2008, and 13 of those chicks have been fathered by Marv, Driscoll said.

In related peregrine news, single peregrines also have been documented in Crookston and Moorhead in the past week, Driscoll said. The bird in Moorhead is a male with a black-over-red leg band that is consistent with Walsh, a Grand Forks peregrine hatched  in 2012 who last year tended a new nest in Moorhead.