University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content
UBNow

News and views for UB faculty and staff

Campus News

Four eggs spotted in UB falcon nest

Dixie — or is it Yankee — sits on four eggs in the nesting box in MacKay Heating Tower on the South Campus. Photo: Courtesy of UB Falcon Cam

By DAVID J. HILL

Published April 27, 2017

Spring is in the air and eggs are in the nesting box.

UB’s favorite feathered couple — peregrine falcons Dixie and Yankee — are keeping watch over four eggs in the nesting box attached to the MacKay Heating Tower on UB’s South Campus. The eggs were laid around the first week of April.

If all goes as planned, we should see eyas — the term for a nestling falcon — in early May. Female peregrine falcons typically lay two to four eggs and the normal incubation period is 29 to 33 days, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Wildlife watchers may recall that none of the five eggs Dixie and Yankee produced last spring was viable. People began to express concern after seeing Dixie panting excessively as she stood over the eggs. The state Department of Environmental Conservation collected the eggs and tested them to determine what went wrong.

Last year’s unseasonably warm winter — one of the warmest on record in Buffalo — appears to be the culprit. Still, the peregrine population continues to grow in Western New York, with a record 13 territories in 2016, eight of which nested successfully and produced a total of 17 young, according to the DEC.

Peregrine falcon numbers are also increasing across New York State, with more than 120 territories and 63 active nests.

Classified as an endangered bird species in New York State, peregrine falcons were eliminated from the eastern U.S. in 1964 due to the devastating effects of pesticides in the environment, which caused total breeding failure. But restoration efforts begun by the DEC, Cornell University and The Peregrine Fund in 1972 helped bring peregrine falcons back East.

One of the falcons tends to eggs in the nesting box. Photo: Courtesy of UB Falcon Cam

The MacKay nesting box is one of several sanctuaries for peregrine falcons in Western New York. Others include Statler City, the Richardson Olmsted Campus and the Central Terminal, all in Buffalo.

The public can see what Dixie and Yankee are up to via the UB Falcon Cam.

READER COMMENT

It's great to learn that Dixie and Yankee are once again in their nesting box at South Campus. My only concern is that the songbirds in the area will become food sources for the falcons.

 

Since I live in the University Heights area and love the cardinals, robins, chickadees and mourning doves around here, I feel somewhat ambivalent about this news!

 

Jacqueline Milligan