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New Web camera offers live view of Kansas City peregrine falcon nest

Updated: 2013-04-25T05:02:49Z

By ROBERT A. CRONKLETON

The Kansas City Star

For the first time, people can get a live look into the peregrine falcon nest atop the Commerce Tower downtown.

“We thought, ‘Why not?’” said Joe DeBold, urban wildlife biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation. “The public never really get to see these birds, especially during the nesting stages.”

The nest is part of a peregrine falcon restoration program that began when young birds were released in 1991 at Commerce Tower. The camera atop the 30-story building at 911 Main St. has been in place for two years.

“We watched the birds last year on it privately,” DeBold said.

To see the live Web feed, go to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s website at http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/wildlife-cameras/kansas-city-falcon-web-camera.

People should watch the birds’ behavior, including their dedication to the nest and their feeding patterns, DeBold said.

“They are going to see the male will bring in food,” he said, which includes pigeons, waterfowl, voles and mice.

“The male will even take the place of the female and even sit on the eggs while the female goes out and preens herself and stretches her wings a little bit.”

People will be able to see the teamwork involved to lay, incubate and hatch eggs, he said.

They also will be able to see the falcon chicks as they develop wing feathers and, if all goes well, fly away.

The nest holds four eggs. DeBold thinks the female has completed her laying.

“It is not uncommon to see her lay an egg and leave and then come back a day later or two and lay another one,” he said. “Once all the eggs are laid, a couple days go by and you presume she will sit on them and stay pretty dedicated.”

The recent chilly weather, including a frost advisory, could pose a challenge for the birds.

“There’s no way of knowing if the eggs are OK,” DeBold said.

The male is always around the nest, defining territory and keeping watch.

The eggs should hatch sometime in the middle of May. The young birds should be ready to fly by mid- to late June.

After that, the nest will be empty for the rest of the year, although the falcons will stick around until they migrate.

To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to bcronkleton@kcstar.com.

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