The folks at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission who study nongame birds received an educational gift Tuesday in the form of a dead peregrine falcon.
Joel Jorgensen, manager of the nongame bird program, said a caller from First National Tower in Omaha let the agency know that a banded falcon by the name of “Niobrara” was found dead on the roof.
The bird was taken back to Lincoln for study, and his story began to unfold.
The falcon, banded at the Nebraska State Capitol on June 2, 2009, apparently died after a territory fight with another peregrine.
The reigning king of downtown Omaha is a falcon named Zeus, who is the mate of Hera.
“It's kind of rare to get the end of the story for one of these birds,” Jorgensen said. “Usually, we don't know what happened to them because their carcasses aren't found.”
Jorgensen said the bird's body has numerous wounds that appear to be from the talons of another falcon. His educated guess is that Niobrara sought to take over the downtown territory and lost.
Peregrine falcons, he said, are known for their prolonged and vicious fights when something as prized as a breeding territory is at stake. Such events may occur annually in the Midwest as suitable breeding territories have become occupied and breeding pairs have successfully produced more and more offspring.
“Omaha and Lincoln can only support one pair of falcons each,” he said. “This is perhaps another reminder that nature, while magnificent and beautiful, is equally harsh and cruel.”
Contact the writer: 402-444-1272, email@example.com