All Bird Species
Falcons in Michigan

4 Types of Falcons in Michigan (With Pictures)

In Michigan, falcons captivate with their aerial mastery and hunting finesse. I’ve researched these swift predators, marveling at their up-to-200-mph dives—Peregrine Falcons hold the avian speed record. Their sleek forms, keen talons, and curved beaks are evolution’s design for mid-air prey strikes. This piece delves into Michigan’s falcon varieties, their environments, and survival tactics. Join me in uncovering the lives of these impressive raptors and their fight for conservation.

Here we’ll learn about 4 different types of Falcons in Michigan

1. Peregrine Falcon

  • Scientific name: Falco peregrinus
  • Life span: 8-15 years
  • Size: 14-19 inches
  • Weight: 1.1-3.3 pounds
  • Wingspan: 3-4 feet
  • Status: Least Concern

The Peregrine Falcon is a really fast and strong bird that hunts other animals while flying. They live all over the world except Antarctica. In North America, you can find them in lots of different places, like cliffs by the ocean or tall buildings in cities.

Peregrine Falcon

They look cool with their smooth, blue-gray feathers and black markings on their face. males and females look pretty much the same, but females are usually bigger.

In the spring, the boy Peregrine Falcon does fancy flying tricks to impress a female. If she likes him, they do tricks together in the air.

They make their nests on cliffs and use stuff like rocks, dirt, and feathers to build them. Peregrine Falcons usually stay with the same partner for their whole life and often use the same nest every year.

When they’re in love, they cuddle, share food, and talk to each other. The male brings food to the female, sometimes even while they’re flying.

They mostly eat medium-sized birds like doves and pigeons, but they can catch bigger birds and even small mammals like bats. They like to hunt during the day because they have really good eyesight.

When they hunt, Peregrine Falcons grab their prey while flying and use their sharp claws and beak to kill them quickly. Sometimes they chase after their food.

Peregrine Falcons almost disappeared because of a harmful chemical called DDT. It made their eggs too thin, so babies couldn’t survive. But people stopped using DDT, and now Peregrine Falcons are doing much better. Some were even raised in captivity and released into the wild to help them come back.

2. American Kestrel

  • Scientific name: Falco sparverius
  • Life span: 5-10 years
  • Size: 8-12 inches
  • Weight: 2.8-5.8 ounces
  • Wingspan: 20-24 inches
  • Status: Least Concern

The American Kestrel is a small but fierce bird that lives across North America, including in Michigan. It’s really good at hunting and looks beautiful with its mix of colors.

American Kestrel

Falcons In Michigan, these birds usually hang out alone, except during the breeding season from March to June when they pair up and do fancy flying to impress each other.

The male American Kestrel looks for a nice place to build a nest and then shows off his flying skills to find a female. They do cool tricks together in the air.

Once they’re together, the female picks a spot for their nest, usually in a hole in a tree or a special box. The male brings stuff like twigs and feathers for the nest.

American Kestrels mostly eat bugs, small rodents, and other little animals. In the summer, they munch on insects like grasshoppers and beetles.

3. Merlin

  • Scientific name: Falco columbarius
  • Life span: 5-10 years
  • Size: 9-11 inches
  • Weight: 5-7 ounces
  • Wingspan: 20-26 inches
  • Status: Least Concern

The Merlin is a small but tough bird found across the northern hemisphere, including Michigan. It’s known for its quick flying and strong hunting skills.

Merlin bird

In Michigan, Merlins usually live in forests. In late April and early May, the boys do special flights and calls to attract girls.

Once they find a partner, they do more flying tricks together to make their bond stronger. Merlins usually stay together for life and go back to the same place each year to have babies. They build their nests in different places, like trees or old buildings.

They’re really protective parents, making sure their babies are safe from other animals.

When the chicks are old enough, they learn how to hunt from their parents before they start living on their own.

4. Gyrfalcon

  • Scientific name: Falco rusticolus
  • Life span: 15-20 years
  • Size: 20-25 inches
  • Weight: 2-4 pounds
  • Wingspan: 3-4 feet
  • Status: Least Concern

The Gyrfalcon is a huge and powerful bird that lives in the Arctic and subarctic regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. It’s famous for its size and strength, with a wingspan that can be as wide as 5 feet.


These falcons come in different colors, from white to dark gray or black. They have sharp beaks that help them catch and kill their prey.

Gyrfalcons are not very well understood because they’re shy and live in remote places.

In Michigan, they’re rare visitors during winter, and they make their nests in the Arctic tundra. In May, they start breeding and usually stay with the same partner for many years.

They pick a spot for their nest, often on cliffs or rocks, and build it with feathers and grass.

Because they live far away from people and there aren’t many of them, we don’t know a lot about how they nest and mate.

Check Our Previous Articles:

Red Birds in Michigan
White Birds In Michigan
 Woodpeckers in Michigan
 Finches in Michigan

Where to Look for Falcons in Michigan

If you want to see falcons in Michigan, there are a few steps you can take to increase your chances. First, learn about the habitats where different falcon species like to hang out. For example, American Kestrels like open areas like grasslands and farms, while Peregrine Falcons live in cities and rocky places.

Once you know where to look, visit places where falcons are known to live. In Michigan, places like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Tawas Point State Park are good for spotting Peregrine Falcons. In central Michigan, check out grasslands and farms for American Kestrels.

If you’re new to birdwatching or want some help, join a guided tour or connect with local birdwatching groups. They’ll give you tips on where to look and help you identify different birds.

Bring binoculars and a field guide to help you see and identify falcons. With a bit of patience, you might get to see these amazing birds in the wilds of Michigan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What kind of falcon lives in Michigan?

Peregrine Falcons are known to live in Michigan.

Q2. What is the difference between a hawk and a falcon?

Falcons are smaller and have long, pointed wings, while hawks are larger with broader wings.

Q3. Are there Falcons in Detroit?

Yes, Peregrine Falcons can be found in urban areas like Detroit.

Q4. Are kestrels common in Michigan?

Yes, American Kestrels are fairly common in Michigan, especially in open habitats like grasslands.

John William

Add comment