Katie OíDonnell

Exploration #1 The Falconís Nest at Travelerís Tower

Environmental Science

There are very few Peregrine Falcons nesting in Connecticut, but one can be found high above Hartford, on the 21st floor of Travelerís Tower. Her name is Amelia and she first nested here in 1997. She was born in Greece, New York in 1994. We know this because she was banded with an ID on her leg and biologists have been able to read the number. There are cameras atop the tower set up to observe her and her mate, affectionately called Falcon Cams.

The peregrine falcon is on Connecticutís endangered species list, but was removed form the Federal endangered list when their numbers recovered nationwide. Although, most recent figures put the pairs of falcons in the US and Canada at just under 2000. That doesnít seem like a significant number. The DEP will monitor the falcon population for 5 years and if the numbers significantly decline it will be relisted.

They like to nest on high rocky cliffs and tall buildings. This is not the first nesting for the Travelerís Tower; there is documentation of nesting in the 1940ís when there numbers were higher. If the falcons hatch eggs this year both birds will care for the hatchlings. They will feed the young other birds that they catch in flight and teach them to fly. By September the young will leave the nest and Amelia and her mate will head for warmer climes.

This is her 7th year returning to this nest, she predictably arrives in early March. Her mate is usually seen not long after. Her male falcon partner is unknown; he is banded but wildlife specialists have been unable to read it. Not every year has brought offspring and in fact Ameliaís last successful nesting was in 2000, but to date she has hatched 8 chicks. Each of those young were banded at 3 weeks of age and have gone off to make their own nests.

Amelia has been seen this year making her first appearance in March. I often check the nest and frequently catch her there. I canít discern if there are eggs yet and the site has not been updated since April 1st. The cameras are always on though and if you have an interest you just might catch a little bit of Hartford aviary history.

Links:

The home page of Travelerís Tower Amelia

http://falconcam.travelers.com/index.html

Information from the federal govít on Peregrine falcons

http://www.fws.gov/endangered/i/B22.html

Submitted to and posted by Anthony Benoit
May 16, 2003

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