The next generation of Iowa’s expanding falcon population is taking to the sky as young peregrines begin leaving their nests.
Falcons have already fledged at the MidAmerican Energy building in Davenport and at the Alliant Energy plant near Chillicothe. Two male falcons have fledged at the State Capitol in Des Moines, ahead of two females that are rehabilitating after being blown from the same nest during a recent storm.
Falcons are also fledging at the American Enterprise building in Des Moines and at the USBank building in Cedar Rapids.
Iowa added six nesting pairs this year, which has not happened before. Additional pairs have been reported at Bellevue, Clayton, Dubuque, Clinton, Muscatine and Keokuk.
Wild peregrine pairs on the Upper Mississippi River cliffs include Agee’s Bluff north of Lansing, Lansing Power Plant cliff, Leo’s Bluff south of Harper’s Ferry, Pattison Sand Mines near Clayton, a huge rock near the state park at Bellevue, and at Dubuque Quarry near Eagle Point Park.
A second Dubuque pair is nesting at the courthouse, at the Power and Light plant smokestack box in Muscatine and at the energy plant dam in Keokuk.
Clinton County is the southern extent of peregrines historic nesting range. With the inclusion of the new pair, Clinton now has three nesting pairs. Established pairs at Louisa and Burlington are active this year.
Young falcons hone their flight skills by engaging in mock combat flights that provide incredible visual, high speed chases and maneuvers often attracting non-breeding peregrines to the area.
Last year 15 falcon pairs were successful at 13 sites that produced 34 young.