Peregrine falcon chicks hatch in downtown Boise

Credit: Peregrine Fund

A female peregrine falcon warms her newly-hatched chicks in a nesting box in downtown Boise.

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by Matt Standal

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBMatt

KTVB.COM

Posted on May 14, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 14 at 6:19 PM

BOISE -- A family of peregrine falcons is once again nesting at Boise's One Capital Center near 10th and Main streets in downtown.

However, this year's crew is likely made of birds new to the area, according to experts at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

You can watch the female, male, and tiny hatchlings on a webcam that's live in their nest. Just click on this 24/7 streaming link sponsored by the Peregrine Fund.

Leo Faddis, volunteer at the Peregrine Fund, says the tiny young chicks are getting a lot of attention online.

"There's four babies that hatched there this weekend, and mom and dad are down there feeding them," Faddis told KTVB.

Those with sharp eyes can spot the adult birds diving through the air in search of prey.

For those unfamiliar with the birds, peregrine falcons are the world's fastest animal, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 200 mph. Their diet consists mainly of other birds, of which they strike and stun in midair. Sadly, the unique creatures nearly became extinct after pesticide pollution thinned the eggshells of their chicks in the middle of the 20th century.

The Peregrine Fund has worked to rehabilitate and raise peregrine falcons from the late 70s until the 1990s when the species became re-established. Experts say it's likely the falcons growing up in downtown Boise are descendants of the ones released by that organization years ago.

According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, different pairs of peregrine falcons have been nesting at the One Capital Center location since 1996 when a nest box was built for them.

Rex Sallabanks is the Wildlife Diversity Program Manager with IDFG. He says the speedy falcons attempt to mate for life, but says this year's resident falcons are likely a new pair.

Sallabanks also says the opportunity for people to see the rare birds in a city setting is something the public should be aware of.

"Normally, the birds live in wilderness canyons deep in the backcountry," Sallabanks said.

According to IDFG statistics, the majority of Idaho's 38 peregrine falcon pairs nest in eastern Idaho.  One pair nests in Boise, and another pair nests on the sugar beet factory in Nampa. Another pair nests in Riggins.

"It's really rare to see one in the wild; yet, you could be eating lunch at 10th and Main and see one flying around." Sallabanks told KTVB.

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