Peregrine falcon chicks hatched near Plaza, other sites

Photo courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

With a little help from humans and some tough bird parenting work, there are now more than a dozen more Peregrine falcons in Kansas City.

The birds nesting on Kansas City buildings and power plant smokestacks produced 13 offspring this year, the Missouri Department of Conservation reported last week.

For the first time this year, a 24-hour camera allowed the public to monitor parents that raised three of the chicks.

They were at a nest box on a ledge at Commerce Tower Downtown and all was not easy.

The parents nurtured the chicks through sleet, snow and rain. When the three flew for the first time last month, one just glided down to the sidewalk.

Joe DeBold, conservation biologist, rescued it, banded it and released it from the top of the building. It flew on the second try.

Falcons nesting in a box on the American Century Investments building near the Country Club Plaza produced three chicks that also flew.

The Kansas City Power & Light Co. provides nests on smokestacks at the Iatan, Sibley and Hawthorne power plants, in the metropolitan area near the Missouri River.

Four chicks flew at the Iatan site and three at Sibley. Eggs at the Hawthorne site did not hatch but DeBold said the nest has been successful in the past and he expects it will be again.

The nests are like those in many cities. They helped bring the birds back from near extinction after the DDT pesticide crisis, but the crow-sized birds are still endangered in Missouri.

The Kansas City program began in the summers of 1991 and 1992 when 24 young falcons were released at Commerce Tower.

Leg bands help track the movement of the falcons and their survival as adults. A video on YouTube shows biologists taking young falcons from a nest and putting leg bands on them.

more information on falcons or other watchable wildlife.

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