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Peregrine Falcons return to nest in Nebraska Capitol

From the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

-- For the fifth year in a row, a pair of peregrine falcons has produced eggs in a nest box outside the 18th floor of the Nebraska State Capitol, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The Commission's popular FalconCam, a video camera mounted at the top of the Capitol, this year provides streaming video of the nest box and may be viewed at OutdoorNebraska.org.

As of April 3, one egg was present in the nest box. It appears certain the final clutch size will include more than one egg. The pair was observed mating on April 7, which suggests egg-laying is ongoing. Biologists have not checked the nest box in recent days, to avoid disturbing the birds during this critical period.

Peregrines generally lay three or four eggs, but one to six eggs have been recorded. The pair had four eggs each of the last two years. Joel Jorgensen, the Commission's nongame bird program manager, said the eggs are expected to hatch in early May.

Jorgensen also noted biologists read the leg bands of both adults. The female, with a leg band reading A/*Y has been present since 2005. The male, with the leg band 19/K, has been at the Capitol since 2003.

FalconCam has monitored the falcons' activities in the nest box since 2005. The peregrines quickly attracted the attention of people around the world who regularly visited the Commission's Web site to follow unfolding events.

In 2005, the pair successfully raised one chick that, through the Name the Chick contest, was named Pioneer.  In 2006, three chicks fledged and were given the names Willa, Bess and Sterling, after famous Nebraskans Willa Cather, Bess Streeter Aldrich and J. Sterling Morton. In 2007, four chicks fledged that were named Boreas, Notus, Eurus, and Zephyrus after the four wind gods from Greek mythology. Last year, the pair laid eggs but was unsuccessful in raising young.

Assistance for the Peregrine Project is provided by Nebraska Wildlife Conservation Fund, Office of the Capitol Commission, Nebraska State Patrol, and Nebraska Correctional Services.

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