Where are the Cincinnati Peregrines?
by Cindy Alverson, Executive Director
Despite much anticipation of having a live web cam to peek into the world of a breeding pair of peregrines nesting on the 4th and Vine building of downtown Cincinnati, we have yet to see their arrival. In 2014 they began laying eggs early April; in 2015 it was the last week in March. As of April 5, we are beginning to think this may not be their chosen nest site in 2016.
So where are the Cincinnati peregrines? Many questions come to mind. Are there still two peregrines downtown? Did something happen to one of them and a new mate is needed? Did the peregrines pull a switcheroo and find a nest site somewhere else?
An expedition downtown was needed to help answer these questions since there are many sites there where the falcons were known to frequent. Downtown was originally chosen for the nest box site because peregrines nest on tall buildings as artificial nest sites and rivers provide good hunting opportunities since there are less opportunities for prey to escape.
The Observation Deck of the Carew Tower is the best place to see the peregrines typically nesting in the 4th and Vine nestbox on the 27th floor. The nestbox faces the south side of the Carew Tower and with binoculars you can see inside the box as well as the other building sites where they perch. The falcons have also been known to perch on the letters of the US Bank building and the bank’s logo while they eat. Scanning other tall buildings for falcons sitting in nooks and ledges proved uneventful. The Daniel Carter Beard bridge is also a place to observe as they often sit on the very top. No falcons there either.
Then out of the southeast flew a peregrine! Long angled wings, flying high, silhouetted against the sky! Flying toward the downtown area, this falcon could have been coming from northern Kentucky as well as Cincinnati. Trying to gauge the position, I lowered my binoculars in time to see a second falcon flying from the south. In a flash, they were gone; I was unable to see where they landed.
Even though the siting was brief, I believe it was a peregrine pair and they are nesting somewhere in the area, maybe downtown Cincinnati, maybe in northern Kentucky. If they had a nest, it would make sense that they were seen for only briefly. If eggs were laid, they would not be away from them long. Perhaps food was being brought in or it was a change in incubating adult. Even though it is disappointing we are not able to peek into their lives for a short period of their lives via the live web cam, it was great to see that they are alive and well.