First two peregrine chicks hatch; two eggs remain
SLC nest box • New male falcon takes to nesting like a champ.
Published: May 16, 2014 07:31PM
Updated: May 16, 2014 10:15PM
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A screen shot of the first peregrine falcon born in a nest box on the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City. (Brett Prettyman)

The first of what could be four chicks for the peregrine falcons in the nest box on the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City hatched overnight and was enjoying breakfast in bed about 8:45 a.m. Friday.

Not long after, perhaps motivated by the smell of breakfast, the second of four eggs in the high rise nest box hatched.

All this was witnessed live by anybody who was watching via one of two webcams in the nest box. The other two eggs should hatch in the coming days

Bob Walters, part of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources’ Watchable Wildlife had predicted, using a general rule of hatching, that the first egg would hatch on May 15 or 16.

The falcons of 2013 laid four eggs but only one hatched. That bird, named Solo, crashed into a building while learning to fly on July 3 and eventually died from its injuries.

The female from last year has returned, but she has a new male with her. Observers of the webcam site managed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources say the new male seems to be showing more interest in incubating than his predecessor.

“People watching the live webcam are saying the female has had to chase the male off the eggs; that he is reluctant to leave his duties,” Walters said. “That is an encouraging sign.”

Walters hypothesizes that the new male could be the same falcon that showed up last year; soon afterward the male from 2013 was found injured with a dislocated shoulder.

“It is possible that the injury could have happened during an aggression battle for territory and that this could be the bird that did it,” Walters said. “It is hard to tell.”

The male from last year was eventually euthanized due to the extent of its injuries.

brettP@sltrib.com

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @BrettPrettyman and @remims