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Female peregrine in town isn't Terminator

There's a new female peregrine in town—possibly the second to show up at the UND water tower since Sunday—vying for the affections of Marv the male, but she's not Terminator, the matriarch of local peregrines since 2008 when nesting first was documented in Grand Forks.

Peregrine pairs don't migrate together but return to the same nest site every spring. Females typically show up later, so if Terminator flies into town in the next few days, a peregrine love triangle could be in the works, Grand Forks raptor expert Tim Driscoll said Wednesday.

Since 2008, Terminator has showed up in Grand Forks as early as March 23 and as late as April 10.

"I've got the feeling it's about to get complicated" if Terminator returns, Driscoll said.

Hatched in 2006 in Brandon, Man., where she also was banded, Terminator has produced 29 chicks in Grand Forks, including two that died in the nest. Marv, who has fathered 13 chicks, was banded in 2013 in Fargo and returned for his fifth breeding season March 17.

The new girl in town, first spotted Wednesday morning by local birder Dave Lambeth, isn't banded, Driscoll said, nor was a female Lambeth photographed Sunday at the water tower.

That female hadn't been seen since Sunday, and Driscoll said he's "very sure" they're different birds because Wednesday's female isn't as colorful.

Like Terminator, the new female also is very large, Driscoll said.

"I was sure it was Terminator, but I saw her legs three or four times, and there's no band on either leg," Driscoll said. "She just dwarfs Marv."

Besides aerial courtship displays, the peregrines were witnessed mating Wednesday, Driscoll said.

"If it's not Terminator, I'm glad it's this girl," he said. "It certainly didn't them long to get down to business."

This isn't the first time a possible peregrine love triangle has brewed in Grand Forks. In 2016, a banded female named Bristol hatched the previous year in Winnipeg showed up in town to flirt with Marv.

But then Terminator flew into town and put an end to that. Within days, Bristol had skipped the country and was documented with a new male in Winnipeg.

Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our peregrine lives.

"The fireworks I'm wondering about are if Terminator shows up in the next day or two," Driscoll said. "Too bad this girl is not banded; then we could find out who she is or if she's shown up anywhere else."

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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