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Four more falcon chicks hatch

Published May 16, 2013

UB’s peregrine falcon chicks have hatched. Yankee and his new partner—bird enthusiasts have named her “Dixie”—are the proud parents of four baby chicks.

Followers of the birds can watch the action via live stream from UB’s Falcon Cam.

Dixie arrived at the nesting box atop MacKay Heating Tower on the South Campus after Department of Environmental Conservation biologists removed BB, Yankee’s original mate, and placed BB in a permanent care facility after she showed unusually aggressive behavior. Dixie laid her first egg on April 3 and three eggs followed.

Ryan McPherson, UB’s chief sustainability officer, advises people on and near the South Campus to use caution when going on rooftops or walking near the tower. While Dixie has not displayed the aggressive behavior that BB did—repeatedly swooping down on people—peregrine falcons are protective by nature, especially when caring for eggs and fledglings. They have been known to swoop down on people, although they seldom cause injury.

In past years, biologists from the DEC have banded the chicks hatched in the UB nesting box in order to identify and monitor them for the rest of their lives.

Once peregrine chicks leave their nest, they likely will not return. Their parents, however, frequently return to the same nest to raise another brood. BB and Yankee raised four chicks in the MacKay nesting box last year.

Threatened by pesticides, peregrine falcons were considered an endangered species by the federal government until 1999 when recovery efforts prompted their removal from the list. Because they still are listed as endangered in New York, the state and partners such as UB are working to boost their numbers. Since 2009, 19 fledglings have hatched at UB.