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March 1, 2013

'Widowed' South Bend falcon finds new mate

SOUTH BEND (AP) — Guinevere appears to have found a new mate.

The city's resident female peregrine falcon has been spotted in recent weeks hunting downtown with another bird, Carol Riewe, a local raptor rehabilitator, told the South Bend Tribune.

"They have been seen hunting pigeons together and swooping and diving," Riewe said, "so it looks like somebody has picked up on the widow here and is going to stay."

"And it's time for that," Riewe said, "because normally, in past years, we had egg-laying beginning in the third week of March, the 23rd or 24th, somewhere in that area."

Riewe said she has spotted the pair herself recently. "I have seen them evenings, after dark," she said, "roosting in the west side windows of the Tower Building."

She said she doesn't know if the other bird is banded because she hasn't been able to get a close enough look at it. She said the camera atop County-City Building that is pointed at Guinevere's nest has been disabled since last year because of a wiring problem.

"The roof has to be clear of ice and snow before anybody gets up there" to fix it, she said.

Peregrine falcons keep the same mate year-to-year, and generally don't accept a replacement unless their partner dies or disappears. Guinevere's former longtime mate, Zephyr, died last June in an accident while he was hunting downtown. The two produced several broods over the years.

The pair's last chick, Zoey, flew the coop over the summer, Riewe said.

"She left in late August, which is what they do," she said. "They get to a point in their development where they just decide they have to move on."

As for Zephyr, Riewe said he is being readied for display.

"Zephyr is going to be taxidermied, and I have given him to Rum Village Nature Center," she said. "And ... the avian biologist for the state agreed that that's a good thing. This is Zephyr's hometown, this is where he should be."

 

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