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Peregrine falcon overview and cams

We ask that viewers keep in mind that falcons are wild creatures. Falcon chicks are commonly lost to falls in nature. Statistically, the mortality rate the first year is higher than 50 percent. To help with bandwidth costs, we ask that you close your Internet browser windows when not actively viewing the cams.

We routinely provide falcon updates via Facebook and Twitter.

Peregrine falcons, once an endangered species, continue to recover after the banning of DDT in the 1970s and extensive efforts to reintroduce the birds throughout the eastern United States. Through our falcon cams and our avian protection program, Westar Energy is proud to be a part of this effort and continues to promote the conservation of this species as well as other Norther American raptors. 

  • From a low of 39 nesting pairs of peregrine falcons in the U.S. in 1972, more than 1,000 pairs exist today. Westar has been an important part of this successful falcon recovery program.
  • The female is bigger than the male, and incubation, which they share, generally takes 28 or 29 days.
  • After hatching, the young fly in five to six weeks.
  • Peregrine falcons feed mainly on birds taken in flight, with pigeons and starlings a favorite.
  • They normally fly at 25-40 mph, but when in a dive for prey, they can fly at over 200 mph.
  • They are relatively small, with males being about 1 1/2 lbs. and females being 2-2 1/2 lbs.
  • Unlike larger raptors, their talons are relatively weak, so they kill their prey most often by striking it at high speed with their feet balled up into a "fist" then catching it as it falls.

Banding history

Banding year
Sex Name
Band Status
2017 M (Coming Soon) 13K red/black, 1156-17356 Fledged, N/A
2017 M (Coming Soon) 96N blue/black, 1957-18677 Fledged, N/A
2016 F Rachel 95N Fledged, N/A
2016 M Chandler 92B Fledged, N/A
2016 M Joey 91B  
2015 F Ethel 23/H left, 1947-22292 right
Fledged, deceased
2015 M Fred 22/H left, 1947-22291 right
Fledged, N/A
2014 F Joule B93 black/red, 1687-30203
Fledged, deceased
2014 F Meadow B94 black/red, 1687-30204
Fledged, N/A
2014 M Faraday
H70 black/red, 1126-06603
Fledged, N/A
2013 F Shawnee B91 black/red, 1687-30201
Fledged, N/A
2013 F Kansa B92 black/red, 1687-30202
Fledged, N/A
2013 M Galvani H65 black/red, 1126-06601
Fledged, N/A
2013 M Volta H67 black/red, 1126-06602
Fledged, N/A
2012 M Edison ? Fledged, deceased
2012 M N/A ? Fell over ledge, deceased
2011 M Tesla 32P red/black, Fell over ledge, deceased
2011 F Stormy 33P red/black,
Fledged, N/A
2011 M Zephyr 33P red/black,
Fledged, N/A
2010 M Wes 46X red/black, Fledged, N/A
2010 F
Star 45X red/black, Fledged, N/A
2009 M Sampson A55 red/black, Fledged, N/A
2008 F Beaky    
2009 M Nemaha H97 red/black, 1687-30408
Current male parent
2007 M Boreas R03 black/green, 1687-02100
Current female parent

Mom and dad peregrine falcons (Boreas and Nemaha)

  • The birds were both banded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Omaha, Neb.
  • Took over the nest box in 2011 from Hope (F) and Doorly (M).

2014 Falcon cam update

We installed a new dedicated, front-facing camera. In years past, we borrowed the feed from a security camera.

2013 Falcon Nest Box Modifications

After several years of successful fledgings, we experienced some unfortunate troubles the past couple years. We did research and made changes to better equip and protect the young birds as they prepare to take their first flights.

Modifications:
  • Increased the size of the box vertically to allow for a more recessed nesting area.
  • Recessed nesting area creates a lip that birds have to climb over to gain access to the perch/external platform. This will hopefully ensure that birds have reached a necessary level of maturity before flying.
  • Changes don't guarantee a successful flight, but we feel that this will give young birds the best opportunity for survival during this tricky first stage.

2015 peregrine falcon season

July 15

Ethel fledged and was returned to the roof after being rescued from the street below.

July 8

Thank you to everyone who submitted falcon names. The winners are Fred and Ethel.

June 26

Two healthy chicks are banded. One male and one female.

June 23

Chick #1 arrived on 6/7 at 12:33 p.m..

Chick #2 arrived on 6/7 at 2:15 p.m..

June 23

Egg #4 arrived on 5/7 at 6:00 a.m..

Egg #3 arrived on 5/4 at 7:00 a.m..

Egg #2 arrived on 5/2 at 6:00 a.m..

Egg #1 arrived on 4/29 at 7:05 p.m..

2014 peregrine falcon season

June 10

Faraday (male) is the first to fledge. His sisters follow over the next couple days.

May 30

Thank you to everyone who submitted falcon names. The winners are Joule, Faraday and Meadow.

May 23

Three healthy chicks are banded. One male and two females.

May 4

Chick #1 arrived on 5/3 at 10:22 p.m..

Chick #2 arrived on 5/4 at 12:12 a.m..

Chick #3 arrived on 5/4 at 2:33 a.m..

March 31

Egg #4 arrived on 3/31 at 8:10 a.m..

Egg #3 arrived on 3/29 at 3:50 a.m..

Egg #2 arrived on 3/27 at 7:45 p.m..

Egg #1 arrived on 3/24 at 5:10 p.m..

March 12

Our falcon pair was caught mating this morning.

2013 peregrine falcon season

July 3

We've had no reports of any injured or killed falcons and we see the chicks and adults routinely, so we believe that the family is still healthy.

June 1

The falcons were successfully banded this afternoon. We have two females and two males. All appear to be in good health and did very well throughout the identification and banding process.

May 24

The falcon banding is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 1. It was originally scheduled for Monday, May 27.

May 8

Three young hatch. The first at 3:33 p.m. Second at 5:02 p.m. Third at 5:21 p.m.. Fourth egg hatches at 5:38 a.m. on May 10.

April 5

Egg #4 arrived on 4/5 in the early morning hours.

Egg #3 arrived on 4/2 at 8:50 p.m..

Egg #2 arrived on 3/31 at 12:50 p.m..

Egg #1 arrived on 3/29 at 3:10 a.m..

March 28

We have confirmed that our falcon couple is Nemaha (female) and Boreas (male), the same falcon couple as the previous two years.

2012 peregrine falcon season

June 26

We’re sorry to report that after a few flight attempts off our downtown Topeka rooftop, our young falcon, Edison, has been found deceased on the rooftop. It appears that after an unsuccessful flight attempt, he had a mishap that resulted in a neck injury that was fatal. Thank you to everyone who took the time to watch our falcons' progress this spring, submit and vote on your favorite falcon names and email us your feedback. Your interest and support of the falcons is heartwarming.

June 18

About 10:45 a.m. Saturday, June 16, our male falcon chick left the nest box. He spent the morning running around the Westar building ledge. We had no sightings shortly after his departure but are confident that he spent some time testing his wings in downtown Topeka. Mom and dad will continue to help feed the chick and show him around until he is able to fend for himself. The winning falcon name of Edison was submitted by several watchers and was voted on the most times (40 percent of the vote).

June 2

We’re sorry to report that this morning one of our falcon chicks took a fatal fall from the nest box. Even though the Peregrine Project has approved our current nest box design, we’re convinced that changes can be made to hopefully lessen the chance of this happening in the future. We’ll make the changes after this falcon season. We’ll continue to get the best advice we can and make adjustments to give our birds their best chance for survival.

May 30

Two falcon chicks were successfully banded at 1:00 p.m.. today. Both falcons are believed to be males.

May 7

First egg hatches at 5:45 p.m., May 6. Second egg hatches at 9:45 a.m., May 7.

April 6

Egg #4 arrived on 4/6 at 6:00 a.m.

Egg #3 arrived on 4/3 at 9:13 a.m.

Egg #2 arrived on 3/31 in the early morning hours.

Egg #1 arrived on 3/29 at 6:33 a.m..

March 28

We have confirmed that our falcon couple is Nemaha (female) and Boreas (male), the same falcon couple as last year.

2011 peregrine falcon season

June 6

We've received updated information on what happened to our oldest male chick that fell out of the nest box. The incident actually happened early in the morning on June 1, not the night before as we first believed. This is the report as viewed from the cam 1 security camera. An adult (pretty sure the female) landed on the box's perch with a bird to feed the chicks. While she was transferring it from her feet to her beak so she could hop into the nest box, the hungry baby hopped up close to the edge of the box. The male flew by as the female was trying to transfer the bird. The chick hopped to the box's lip to get closer to the food and lost its balance. The female hopped into the box as the chick lost its grip and fell. When the chicks leave this year, we'll make modifications to the box to make it tougher for this to happen in the future.

June 1

We have sad news to report. One of our male falcon chicks has died. The chick apparently jumped from the box yesterday between about 8 and 9 p.m. and didn’t survive the 10-story fall. When it was banded on Monday, its condition was good, and we’re unsure as to what caused it to jump out of the box. The most dangerous period for peregrines is from hatching until the falcons are a year old. We’ll continue to keep you updated on the remaining male and female chicks. The naming contest will continue as originally designed. Many thanks to those who have already submitted names.

May 30

The falcons were banded this morning. There are two males and a female. The birds all appear to be healthy. Photos and video of the banding are below.

April 6

Egg #3 arrived on 4/6

Egg #2 arrived on 4/4

Egg #1 arrived on 4/1

March 28

For the last couple weeks, downtown Topeka has experienced an increase in overhead vocalization. Hope and Doorly, our falcon couple who've made their home in the nest box on top of our downtown general office since 2004, were ousted by a new peregrine couple. The couple that has claimed the nest box is Boreas, male, born in 2007, and Nemaha, female, born in 2009. Both peregrines were raised at the Nebraska State Capitol. A nest box has been quickly erected at a separate Westar location, the Tecumseh Energy Center, in hopes that Hope and Doorly will recognize the alternative location and make a new home there.

2010 peregrine falcon season

2009 peregrine falcon season

2008 peregrine falcon season

Helpful resources section header photo