If you're a fan of Minnesota's popular Eagle Cam, there's another winged couple you may be interested in watching.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Nongame Wildlife Program is live streaming a video of peregrine falcons nesting on the top of the Bremer Bank Building in downtown St. Paul. Tune in to watch Tom and Arcadia (yes, those are the falcons' names) raise their young in an urban setting.
The DNR says the couple have already laid four reddish-brown eggs – the first two were laid over the weekend of April 8-9, the third on the 11th, and the fourth laid on the 14th. They're about the size of a small chicken egg. The parents will take turns incubating the eggs for about 33 days – which means the chicks are expected to hatch around Memorial Day weekend.
While one parent is watching the nest, the other is typically out looking for food. Peregrine Falcons are expert hunters – the DNR says they're the fastest animal on the planet and have been clocked at over 230 miles an hour. They eat mostly birds of a huge variety of species.
If that's not enough to entice you to check out the cam, just look at how precious falcon chicks are:
The nesting box was originally placed on the east side of the building in 1987, the DNR says, and got its first pair of falcons the next year.
Since then, its been home to several families, producing 65 chicks through 2012. The department says Arcadia is the same female that nested at this box last year.
More about the peregrine falcon project
The peregrine falcon project is part of the DNR's Nongame Wildlife Program, an organization dedicated to wildlife preservation, conservation and land protection. The program provides monitoring as well as banding assistance to the Minnesota peregrine project.
The DNR says peregrine falcons were once almost gone in Minnesota, but thanks to the cooperative efforts of the Nongame Wildlife Program, Raptor Center, Nature Conservancy, Bell Museum, and private propagators throughout the nation, populations have been restored.
The Nongame Wildlife Program works to protect more than 700 animal species in Minnesota, and operates almost entirely on donations – but barely get any now.
“If every Minnesota tax payer donated just $1, we would be so much better off,” the program wrote. “But, sadly, less than 3 percent of Minnesotans who file taxes donate to our program. Those who donate are generous, yet the donations have decreased steadily over the decades and we are in serious financial trouble.”