Peregrine Falcon Chicks Hatch in Downtown Nest

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Downtown Kansas City has a pair of new residents, and it isn’t good news for pigeons.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, a pair of peregrine falcon chicks hatched on Monday in a nest near the top of the 30-story Commerce Tower at 911 Main Street.

The nest and two chicks are being tended by a pair of peregrines who can often be seen swooping at high speed in and around downtown and the Missouri River.

PICTURES: Peregrine Falcons Over Downtown

Peregrine falcons are prolific pigeon hunters who can dive at speeds up to 200 miles per hour. The species, which originally nested along rocky outcrops along the Missouri River bluffs, was nearly driven to extinction by the pesticide DDT, which weakened egg shells and harmed reproduction.

However, the ban on DDT and a reintroduction program has increased their numbers to the point where they could be taken off the national Endangered Species List in 1999.

Biologists with the Department of Conservation say that 15 chicks have been raised successfully at the Commerce Tower nest from 2005 through 2011. The department works with private businesses that own or manage tall buildings in cities to restore peregrine populations across the state.

According to the Department of Conservation, biologists are monitoring five peregrine falcon nest sites in the metro area this spring, including one near the Country Club Plaza and three on smokestacks at Kansas City Power & Light Co. generating plants – but they say that the Commerce Tower site has been the most successful through the years.

According to biologists, the chicks that hatched this week should be fledged and gone by mid-July.

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