It's nesting season for peregrine falcons, and once again we get to watch.
"Right now we have four pairs in Kansas City that have started laying eggs since this past weekend," Joe DeBold, an urban wildlife biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation, said in a release.
That's a bit early, as falcons typically lay eggs from April through June. They hatch about a month later. Chicks, or fledglings, fly from the nest after five to six weeks.
Two rocky nests, at the American Century Investments building near the Country Club Plaza, and at the Kansas City Power & Light Co.'s Iatan power plant near Weston, are equipped with cameras.
The link to the American Century nest is ustream.tv/channel/kansas-city-plaza-falcon-cam
The link to the Iatan nest is livestream.com/accounts/8268653/events/4871157
Biologists also are monitoring other nests that do not have cameras. They are in boxes mounted on smokestacks at KCP&L's Sibley and Hawthorne power plants and on a ledge at Commerce Tower downtown.
The high places simulate bluffs and cliffs where falcons would naturally build their nests. Peregrine falcons are endangered in Missouri, and the Conservation Department has a restoration program.
The population of falcons nationwide dropped precipitously when the pesticide DDT entered the food chain in the 1940s. Their numbers began to rebound when the chemical was banned in 1972.
Falcons are predators that feed on birds such as pigeons and starlings, flying down on their prey at high speed. Falcons can be 21 inches long, with a wingspan of 45 inches. The females are larger than the males.
The Conservation Department has more information about falcons at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZqA