By LIZ TOTH
Did you know that the fastest animal on earth lives in downtown Dayton? The peregrine falcon is able to fly at speeds over 200mph making it the fastest animal on earth!
The FalconCam provides an up close view, from hatching to fledging, of Dayton’s family of peregrine falcons. From the first glimpses of the fluffy white chicks as they pip out of the egg to the drama of their first flights from the 23rd floor of the Liberty Savings Tower we get an insider’s view on the behavior of this fascinating bird. Over the years the Boonshoft FalconCam has allowed the viewers to learn the details of family life that were previously unseen. Watching the mother as she tears a freshly caught bird and puts it into the gaping beak of her young chick gives new meaning to the word “breakfast”. While we enjoy watching the daily activities of the birds this information is being put to scientific use. As soon as the eggs are laid biologists know that the pair is in good health and can get a count on the number of eggs. 2017 is the 16th year of the Boonshoft FalconCam. The season started with wildlife biologists cleaning the nestbox in February and checking to be sure it is secure, stable and ready for the falcon pair. One of the falcons was nearby and swooped and called loudly to show its displeasure of humans in its territory. Because the falcon was moving so fast it could not be identified as having leg bands or not.
Now that nesting season is underway little to no human presence is ideal near the nestbox. The door leading to the roof of the Liberty Savings Tower has a sign that is a reminder that the birds need privacy while nesting.
Peregrine falcons were added to the list of federally endangered species in 1970. They became endangered through the use of a pesticide called DDT that thinned the shells of their eggs preventing them from hatching and a dangerous decline in the population. Wildlife biologists have worked hard to increase the number of peregrine falcons and in Ohio the peregrine was removed from the list of state endangered species in 2015. The recovery of the peregrine population has been a success but biologists must continue to carefully monitor the population. The Dayton nest has been selected as one of the Ohio nests that will continue to be monitored. Data collected from the FalconCam includes the continued presence of the pair, the number of eggs laid, the number of eggs that hatch and the number of chicks that fledge. The continued monitoring and data collection from the nest through the FalconCam will contribute to the success of this majestic species in Ohio.
To learn about the peregrines at other locations in Ohio visit the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s website.
Dayton’s own peregrine pair can be viewed on the Boonshoft FalconCam.
Questions about the FalconCam? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org