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Mating scene success for peregrine falcons

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peregrine falcon - COURTESY OF CAPTAIN CHICKENPANTS FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Courtesy of Captain Chickenpants Flickr Creative Commons
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By Jesse Wilson

Love has been rekindled on the 31st floor of the Market Tower on the Circle in downtown Indianapolis.

Kathy-Q has a new mate, Will, a native peregrine falcon from Michigan who showed up in the city last fall shortly after she lost her mate of 11 years.

The two spent the winter together and now they have four chicks in their nest on the building's ledge.

Will "showed up last fall after Kinney was found dead. They wintered in Indianapolis and formed a pair bond. So far it looks good," said John Castrale, coordinator at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Kinney was Kathy-Q's previous mate. The two spent 11 years together and had 61 young. He passed away last fall after injuring himself by flying into an unknown object, according to the Department of Natural Resources website.

Kathy-Q isn't the only falcon finding new love. Guinevere, a 12-year-old peregrine falcon from South Bend, has also found a new partner.
COURTESY OF KEVINCOLE FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Courtesy of kevincole Flickr Creative Commons
She's recently nested with an untagged peregrine falcon, and the Department of Natural Resources doesn't know where he's from.

Castrale said when a peregrine male leaves its nest, it tends to settle within 100 miles of its birth place. It's possible the male is from a number of places.

Since there seems to be a rise in the number of peregrine falcons finding mates, the number of peregrine falcons is increasing, too. Currently there are 16 nesting peregrines in Indiana, according to the DNR.

"Sixteen doesn't sound like a lot, but peregrines are widely dispersed," Castrale said. That number is less than 2012 when there were 18 nesting peregrine falcons, but it's larger than 2011 when there were only 12. Because there are more nests, more baby falcons are being born. Eight different sites across the state, including one in Fort Wayne, have hatched chicks.

There are currently 14 nests that biologists know have eggs or are holding new born falcons.

This spring, there have been six sightings of peregrine falcons in Indiana, and biologists believe there is a falcon nest in Gary.

The peregrine falcon is still on Indiana's list of endangered species, but has been removed from the federal endangered species list since 1999.

Jesselyn Bickley is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.

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