Sunday, May 18, 2008

Nebraska peregrine update

I just got word today that the peregrine nest on the Capitol building in downtown Lincoln (see previous post) has failed. The expected hatch date was approximately May 10; when Nebraska Game & Parks personnel checked up on the 12th, they found only one egg. (The nest originally held four.) The adults were still incubating at that time, but apparently gave up a few days ago. Kind of a bummer for me—I would have enjoyed watching fledgling peregrines again—but hardly a calamity for the species. North American populations are at an all-time high, and breed in many areas (eastern Nebraska, for example) where they were historically absent.

One result of high populations is avid competition for scarce nesting sites, with breeding pairs augmented by a large number of unpaired "floaters". At the Woodmen Tower site in Omaha, the resident falcon was apparently challenged by an unpaired female, resulting in the injury of one and disappearance of the other. The resident tiercel subsequently "stopped sitting on the nest"—fairly predictable behavior, as his primary role at this point is hunting for the falcon and their eyasses rather than brooding—and the eyasses have been removed.

Some might get depressed at two failed nests, but again, this is a temporary and strictly local setback—and a fairly common occurrence in healthy peregrine populations. Healthy populations is what those of us who worked on peregrine recovery were after in the first place.

No comments: