Another Peregrine Spring

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Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 12:00 am

For nearly a decade, a Peregrine Falcon pair have nested on the 18th floor of the Nebraska State Capitol in downtown Lincoln. Also during that time, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, in partnership with the Office of the Capitol Commission, has provided an intimate view of the nestbox via the internet. During the early years, the image quality would be considered poor by today's standards. A distant camera provided fuzzy still shots every five seconds. Three years ago, equipment was overhauled and the continuous high-definition video now streams in live online from two cameras, including one looking directly into the nestbox. The on-demand streaming video provides a spectacular view into the falcons' domestic lives.

Peregrine Falcons were once an endangered species, but they are not a native Nebraska breeding bird. In the mid- to late 20th century, the Peregrine Falcon started nesting on tall buildings in cities because these structures resemble the species' natural breeding habitat—tall steep cliffs. Conservation workers soon realized this adaptation provided additional opportunities to recover the species. Efforts to introduce Peregrine Falcons into cities through a process called “hacking” soon followed. The Woodmen Tower in Omaha was a site of a hacking effort in the 1980s. It remains the only other site in the state where this species nests. The Capitol's Peregrine Falcons were not hacked but rather showed up on their own.

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