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VIDEO: Macomb County Welcomes Peregrine Falcon Chicks Webber and Otis

Two peregrine falcon chicks were tagged by the Department of Natural Resources Friday, and named after local philanthropists and a shoe shining legend in Macomb County by County Executive Mark Hackel.

Webber and Otis are Macomb County's newest residents.

The fifth generation of peregrine falcons to hatch atop the Macomb County Building in Mount Clemens, the pair were tagged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and named by Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel on May 25.

Hathor, the mother falcon, has been nesting atop the county building since 2005. Her chicks, both male, are among more than 21 recorded to have hatched in Southeast Michigan this year.

"Michigan joined other states in 1986 to put a program in place to try to reintroduce peregrine falcons to Michigan," said Tim Payne, DNR southeast regional wildlife supervisor. "In the 60s, there was no known successful nest east of the Mississippi because pesticides were producing thin egg shells. We cleaned up our environment and subsequently, the falcons have been able to nest successfully."

The Macomb County Building in Mount Clemens is one of 14 nesting sites known to have produced eggs in 2012. Traditionally cliff dwellers, peregrine falcons often use tall buildings with window wells or ledges for their nests.

Although the peregrine falcon is on the Michigan endangered species list, Payne said the species has made a significant comeback since the 60s and he is thankful that local partners, such as the government of Macomb County, have made it safe for the birds to nest in urban settings.

Hackel named the birds Otis and Webber. Otis Hopkins is a 94-year-old Mount Clemens resident who has worked as a shoe shiner in the lobby of the Macomb County courthouse in downtown Mount Clemens for the past 20 years. Wayne and Joan Webber are local philanthropists who head the Webber Foundation.

Jenny Whalen May 26, 2012 at 12:23 PM
I love the story of Otis!

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