MDC bands 18 peregrine falcon chicks at Kansas City area nest sites

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Kansas City, Mo. – Biologists for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) banded 18 peregrine falcon chicks this spring at nests in the Kansas City metro area. Rainy weather hampered nesting success for the falcons, said Joe DeBold, MDC urban wildlife biologist. But falcon pairs produced young at seven nests in the metro area. The expansion of nesting sites continues and biologists hope to remove the falcons from the list of Missouri’s endangered species in 2020.

“Our numbers banded illustrate lower (chick) recruitment due to cold and wet spring weather,” DeBold said. “This spring was not conducive for game bird or non-game bird nesting success.”

But biologists are optimistic about the long-term falcon recovery program. Nest boxes placed on urban office buildings and power plant smokestacks continue to host additional pairs of falcons. The falcons feed on pigeons and other birds and wildlife. MDC’s falcon program in the Kansas City area began in 1991. The program depends on partnerships with private businesses that provide nest box sites. MDC also receives assistance from the USDA Wildlife Damage unit.

DeBold and helpers banded 11 falcon chicks at four Kansas City Power & Light Co. electrical generating stations including the Iatan, Sibley, Hawthorn, and La Cygne power plants. The nest production at office building sites included: American Century Investments, one chick; Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP, four chicks, and Commerce Tower, two chicks.

The chicks have all fledged or flown, DeBold said. Falcons migrate throughout the Midwest in other seasons. Those nesting in the Kansas City area include birds fledged in the area and others in the pairs that fledged in other cities. Putting the small leg bands on the chicks before they fledge and leave nests helps biologists track peregrine falcon movements and nesting habits.

For more information about falcons in Missouri, visit https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/peregrine-falcon.