BOISE, Idaho –The daily life of a wild Peregrine Falcon family in downtown Boise is once again on view via a web camera.
This is the fourth year that the webcam has followed the daily activities at a nest box on the 14th floor of One Capital Center, 10th and Main streets. The webcam may be seen at: peregrinefund.org/falconcam/
The nest box has been used each spring since 2003. Last year, four chicks successfully fledged from the nest, though one died about a month later from injuries suffered in a collision.
The ledge where the nest box is located simulates the high, steep cliffs the falcons use in the wild. The falcons, which strictly eat other birds, prey on a plentiful supply of pigeons, mourning doves, starlings and other birds downtown.
The web camera is sponsored by The Peregrine Fund, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Fiberpipe. The nest also can be viewed on monitors in the lobby of One Capital Center, courtesy of Oppenheimer Development Corporation and J.R. Simplot Company.
“The birds are currently in the midst of courtship,” said Connie Stanger, Curator of Birds at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey. “Webcam followers can expect loud vocalizations as the male brings food to the female. Watch for the birds bowing to each other and scraping out a depression in the gravel at the bottom of the box where the eggs will be laid.”
Last year, the female laid the first of four eggs on April 7. Hatching began on May 16 and the first flight from the nest occurred on June 24. The young birds stayed in the downtown area for several weeks to hone their flying and hunting skills under the watchful eyes of their parents, and Boise residents. “There is only one other building in Idaho that is home to a nesting pair of peregrine falcons,” said Colleen Moulton, Avian Ecologist at the Idaho Department of Fish Game. “Boise is very lucky to have front row seats to the amazing process of raising young falcons.”
Once an endangered species, the Peregrine Falcon was restored through the release of captive-bred young by The Peregrine Fund. The population had been decimated by DDT, a pesticide that thinned the eggshells of many types of raptors, including the Bald Eagle. The Peregrine Falcon was removed from the Endangered Species List in 1999 but population numbers continue to be monitored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and individual states.
The Peregrine Falcon was removed from Idaho’s list of endangered species in 2009 on the 10th anniversary of the federal delisting. Like all birds of prey, the falcons remain fully protected by state and federal law.
Peregrine Falcons were essentially gone from Idaho by 1974. Starting in 1982, captive-bred falcons were released into the wild in Idaho and nearby states. In 1985, the raptors were again documented as a breeding species and releases were discontinued. Eight falcons were released in downtown Boise in 1988 and 1989. Today, there are about two dozen breeding pairs scattered around the state.
Did you know?
- Nest: Falcons do not build nests. Eggs are laid and incubated in a “scrape,” a depression in the gravel that the falcons build by pushing the gravel out behind them with their legs.
- Pairs: Peregrine Falcons generally keep the same mate from year to year, but if one dies, the surviving bird will seek another.
- Eggs: A typical clutch is 3 to 4 eggs, which are incubated for 32 to 35 days. The parents will use their beaks to roll and shift the eggs periodically during incubation. The male assists by sitting on the eggs while the female leaves to eat. The eggs will not hatch if they are infertile or the young dies during incubation.
- Chicks: Called an eyas, a chick stays warm under its parent during the brooding period. Chicks are fed by both parents, who make sure each chick receives enough to eat. They are in the nest for six to seven weeks.
- Fledging: Chicks prepare to leave the nest by flapping their wings in the nest, then taking short test flights. For about six weeks, they continue to be fed by their parents while honing their flying and hunting skills before striking out on their own.