History of Boise Urban Falcons


Tom Cade of Cornell University, using falcons borrowed from falconers, successfully raised 20 young falcons in 1973. He released the first captive-bred falcons the following year. Cade’s efforts led to the formation of the Peregrine Fund and the creation of the World Center for Birds of Prey in Fort Collins, Colorado. The two joined and moved to Boise in 1984. At the time, no one knew whether a recovery effort would work. Since then more than 6,700 falcons have been raised in captivity and released across the country.
In Idaho, 188 captive-bred falcons have been released at 15 locations.
Today, about three dozen breeding pairs are scattered around Idaho.

Eight captive-bred peregrine falcons were released in downtown Boise in a hack box with attendants feeding them in 1988 and 1989 until they fledged. The boarded up box is still located on the Northside of the Key Bank Building – facing the Capitol. There was a closed circuit viewing camera focused on that hack box visible from inside the bank lobby in 1989. Peregrines have been seen on and inside that box and in the general vicinity, and occasionally heard around Boise after those reintroduction efforts of 1988 and 1989. Only once, in 1998, did a pair of falcons raise young in the Key Bank nest box.

The nest box on the Amalgamated Sugar Factory in Nampa has had Peregrines nesting successfully since 2000. It is theorized that at least one of the nesting pair of adult Peregrine Falcons in Nampa are from the Boise Urban fledglings.

Falcons have reared chicks in a nest box on the 14’th floor NW ledge of the One Capital Center building at 10th and Main streets since 2003. The One Capital Center pair is doing above average on their part.

The national average for peregrine production is less than 1.5 young per pair. Yet, this pair produces an average of 3.5 young per year and, in 2005, fledged 5 young in one clutch.

The female member of the Boise pair was replaced in 2006 by a sub-adult (first-year) bird. Despite being a young female and 6 weeks behind schedule, this pair successfully raised 3 young fledglings in 2006 (1♀, 2♂). Whether falcons mate for life is presently under debate. Loyalty to a known nesting site may be a stronger instinct. The 2010 tiercel is decidedly different from the 2009 tiercel. He is banded and 2009 ‘s was not; he seems to be following feeding directions better from the female.

As of the end of the 2009 nesing season, the number of successful Boise Urban Peregrine Falcon fledgelings is 24.

* Information sourced from Idaho Fish and Game Annual Reports

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