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Two FalconCams in position for closeup view of chicks online

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The falconcam inside the nesting box offers a closeup view of peregrine falcon chicks.

The FalconCam inside the nesting box offers a closeup view of peregrine falcon chicks.

If all goes well, bird lovers likely will be able to view nesting peregrine falcon chicks on two webcams this spring in St. Louis and Kansas City.

For the fifth year at the St. Louis location, the public has online access to FalconCam, a bird’seye view of peregrine falcons raising their chicks. Last year, the live camera stream was viewed more than 80,000 times, peaking at more than 2,000 views per day in early April and May when the eggs were laid and the chicks hatched. St. Louis falcon activities can be viewed via the FalconCam from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. (CDT), seven days a week on Ameren’s website at AmerenMissouri.com/FalconWatch and at worldbirdsanctuary.org.

The project is made possible through a cooperative effort among the Missouri Department of Conservation, Ameren Missouri, and the World Bird Sanctuary.

A banded falcon chick has already shed its downy feathers and is ready to soar one day soon.

A banded falcon chick has already shed its downy feathers and is ready to soar one day soon.

The nesting box is securely located 168 feet above the ground of the Ameren Missouri Sioux Energy Center. Sanctuary experts will offer periodic website commentary about what’s happening in the nest. The link will be available until nesting activity is complete and the young have left the nest. A similar camera system will offer birding enthusiasts a view of a peregrine falcon nest atop the American Century Investments building located north of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.

Both St. Louis and Kansas City falcon activities can be viewed via the Department’s website at nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/ photos-live-cams.

Urban Wildlife Biologist Joe DeBold said the birds use a skyscraper’s tiers and ledges the same way they would a cliff towering over a river. “They are the fastest animal in the world, having been clocked at 261 mph, and they hunt from the air,” DeBold said. “They plunge downward in a deep swoop, smacking their prey with an extreme blow.”

DeBold noted the nesting boxes offer the birds a crevice-like shelter to lay their eggs. The birds were already laying their eggs on a ledge atAmerican Century when a nesting box was established to offer the peregrines an added degree of security.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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