Famous Falcons Return to Salt Lake City

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After a one-year hiatus, Salt Lake City’s famous pair of peregrine falcons is back.  And they’re nesting downtown!

You can watch the falcons’ antics by logging onto the Division of Wildlife Resources’ website. Right now, the falcons are caring for an egg the female has deposited in a nest box on the northeast corner of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

You can also travel downtown and watch the falcons in person. The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is just west of State Street, between South Temple and North Temple streets.

You can follow the antics of the falcon family on your computer screen by logging onto www.wildlife.utah.gov/peregrine.

Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the DWR, says officials with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have placed two cameras in the nest box.

“One camera gives you a ‘long view’ of the interior of the box,” Walters says. “The second camera focuses on the nest scrape where the parents are maintaining and safeguarding the egg. If all goes well, you’ll be able to watch the falcon from the time it hatches until it learns to fly.”

And Walters says it’s possible that you might be watching more than one falcon chick this spring. “The female might lay another one, two or even more eggs,” he says.

Almost every year since 1986, a pair of peregrine falcons has nested in downtown Salt Lake City or at an alternative nest site north of the city. The falcons showed up in the downtown area again last year. But they didn’t stay long.

Walters says the nest box the falcons usually use was closed last spring while workers renovated the window washing system on the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Walters placed another nest box on a building just north of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.  But the falcons didn’t use it.  Instead, they attempted to nest on a decorative oval on the southeast corner of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

A single egg was laid. But the falcons didn’t attend to it, and the egg failed to hatch.

Walters says one of the two adult falcons was seen regularly in the downtown area through mid summer. “Now that they have access to their regular nest box again,” he says, “I’m hopeful they’ll do well and raise young once again.”

For more information, call the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.

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