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Peregrine falcons begin their family in downtown SLC

Published April 17, 2013 10:53 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Downtown Salt Lake City's peregrine falcons can boast their first blessed event of the season, with the appearance of a speckled brown egg in their nesting box.

Their everyday affairs captured by a video camera trained on their home at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building like a kind of avian "Big Brother," the falcon parents are expected to add three more eggs to their clutch over the next week, said Bob Walters, watchable-wildlife coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

"You kinda cross your fingers," said Walters, sounding like a proud, nervous papa. "I know in my heart none of this is guaranteed. That's just the way Mother Nature is."

Pictures of the female and her speckled brown egg wound up on the peregrines' Facebook page just before noon. And soon after, video footage was also posted on the birds' fan page.

The DWR has a link to a peregrine falcon web cam at 1.usa.gov/irotAR.

For Walters, the yearly season of the peregrine family soap opera has begun.

Last year, three of four eggs hatched. A precocious female died on her third adventure into the city canyons of concrete and glass. Her sister, "a flier from the get-go," according to Walters, "made it out of there successfully."

Their brother, dubbed Primo, took 10 scary spills before being dispatched to a rehabilitation center in Colorado. He was released two weeks ago on Antelope Island and hasn't been seen since, although there was one report that he had been spotted near the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Back in 2008, all three of the surviving eyasses, as the peregrine tots are called, died from a bacterial infection. Other years, a team of volunteers gets caught up in the gather to track the travails of the nesting family, from the laying of eggs to their hatching, the fledging and, with some luck, the young's successful departure from their nest.

The volunteer team is posted with walkie-talkies around the Smith building, which overlooks the Main Street Plaza near The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' iconic Salt Lake Temple.

Hatching should begin the weekend after Mother's Day. The young are expected to try testing their wings at the end of June, Walters said.

fahys@sltrib.com

Twitter:@judyfutah