Minnesota DNR offers new live peregrine falcon webcam

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Nongame Wildlife Program has placed a live webcam in a peregrine falcon box in downtown St. Paul to monitor the nest of a pair of peregrine falcons. View the webcam here

“We are very excited to be able to provide this webcam,” said Carrol Henderson, supervisor of the Nongame Wildlife Program. “It allows the public a close-up view into the life of these incredible birds.”

The project is being done in cooperation from the Midwest Peregrine Society, and the business tenants in Town Square and Sentinel Properties.

On Wednesday, March 27, the pair laid their first egg, Henderson said. The female will lay up to four more eggs over the next few days. The eggs should hatch on about April 28 and the young will stay in the box, dependent on their parents, until late June or early July.

The box the birds are in is about four feet by four feet in size and is located twenty-six stories high. Peregrines do not “build” a nest, so pebbles are placed in the box to create a natural habitat.

The peregrine falcon is the fastest animal in the world, stooping (chasing prey) at speeds in excess of 200 miles-per-hour. They are a little larger than crow-sized, about 1-2 pounds. The females are one-third larger than the males. They are mostly a slate blue color as adults, with a distinctive “hooded” appearance with a stripe that comes down from the cap. Young peregrines are brown in color with many stripes or barring on the chest.

DDT and related chemicals had a devastating effect on peregrine falcons and many other species in the 1950s and 60s. DDT and its residues, accumulated through food chains, impaired reproduction of many birds by causing the bird’s eggs to become so thin that they were crushed under the weight of the mother incubating them. Chemicals extirpated some populations and raised the threat of the species extinction. Use of DDT was effectively banned in the United States in 1972 making it possible for peregrine recovery work to begin.

In 1984, the peregrine falcon was placed on the endangered species list. “This is truly a story of success because today, we have more than 60 unique territories in Minnesota and 39 pairs successfully raised 119 chicks,” said Henderson.

Donations to the DNR Nongame Wildlife Program, which can help provide additional cameras and learning experiences, can be made online.

More information about peregrine falcons in Minnesota is available online.

More information about the Midwest Peregrine Society is available online.

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