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Capitol’s peregrine falcons select new nest site

LINCOLN, Neb. – The peregrine falcon pair atop the Nebraska Capitol have apparently opted not to use the nest box placed on the 18th floor and instead have chosen a new site. The new nest site appears to be in a gutter at the base of the Capitol’s dome.

One consequence of the falcons’ decision is that the nest and eggs are inaccessible and outside of the view of Falcon cam, which has provided streaming video of the nest box for years.

The same pair present since 2005 consisting of the male, 19/K, and female, Alley, appear to be the same birds nesting this year. They have laid eggs in the nest box every year since 2005, but last year’s nesting attempt was unsuccessful as the pair abandoned the nest after no eggs hatched.

“It is not unusual for birds, including peregrine falcons, to select a different nest site if their previous nesting attempt fails,” said Joel Jorgensen, nongame bird program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The birds’ decision to nest in what appears to be a gutter may be a poor choice. “At some point this spring we will likely get a heavy downpour and that may cause the nest to fail once water collects in the gutter,” Jorgensen said.

Alley and 19/K are the only peregrine falcons that have successfully nested at the Capitol, fledging 23 offspring since 2005. Out of the 23 young, six have been observed as adults away from the Capitol. Boreas, hatched in 2007, and Nemaha, hatched in 2009, nested at the Westar Energy building in Topeka, Kansas, from 2011 to 2017. Mintaka, hatched in 2010, has been nesting on Omaha’s Woodmen Tower since 2012. Lewis, hatched in 2012, was observed near Houston, Texas, in the winter of 2014, 2016 and spring 2018. Clark, also hatched in 2012, was discovered nesting at Omaha Public Power District’s north Omaha power station in 2015. Orozco, hatched in 2015, recently was discovered nesting at a third site in Omaha.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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