Kansas City, Mo. – Peregrine falcons nesting high atop buildings and power plant smokestacks in the Kansas City area produced 13 offspring this spring. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and cooperating partners monitor five sites in the metro area where nest boxes are placed on structures.
A falcon pair used a nest box on a ledge at Commerce Tower in Downtown Kansas City to raise three chicks. They fledged (flew for the first time) in June. One young bird glided to the sidewalk. The falcon was found and recovered by Joe DeBold, an MDC urban wildlife biologist. DeBold banded the bird and released it again atop the skyscraper. It successfully flew on the second try.
The public was able to watch the falcon nest at Commerce Tower via a camera and web link. Viewers saw parents sheltering eggs and newborn chicks through sleet, snow and rain. Yet the chicks survived. Parents would arrive at the nest and feed the young. DeBold said plans call for the nest to be offered for web viewing again next year.
The Kansas City Power & Light Co. provides nest boxes on smokestacks at the Iatan, Hawthorne and Sibley power plants that are near the Missouri River in the metro area. Four chicks fledged at the Iatan site and three chicks fledged at Sibley. Eggs at the Hawthorne site did not hatch. But that nest has been successful in the past and DeBold expects it will be again in future years.
A video is available on You Tube of biologists removing peregrine falcon chicks from the nest at the Iatan Power Plant and placing leg bands on the young birds. It is available at http://youtu.be/jQLFjAvu58w. The leg bands help biologists track peregrine falcon movements and survival as adults.
Falcons nesting in a box placed atop the American Century Investments building near the Country Club Plaza produced three chicks that fledged successfully.
Ledges on cliffs and bluffs were the original nesting sites of peregrine falcons. They can dive at more than 200 mph when full grown, plucking birds from the sky or rodents from the ground for food. The high-flying raptors are endangered in Missouri. But restoration programs like the nest boxes placed on tall structures is helping them recover. The recovery program began in Kansas City in 1991.
For more information on falcons or other watchable wildlife, http://mdc.mo.gov.