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Falcon egg spotted in I&M nest

Expectant father seen on cam, but have we met the mother?

It may not quite be “Falcon Crest,” but there is the possibility of some drama at the top of One Summit Square.

Jamie is going to be a father, but viewers are not yet certain who the mother is.

They’re not television actors, but the peregrine falcons in the nest sponsored by Indiana Michigan Power, which hosts a webcam trained on the falcons.

I&M spokeswoman Erica Putt said officials have confirmed there is an egg in the nest and the male falcon is 4-year-old Jamie, who has been nesting there with 3-year-old Moxie since 2012. But while they don’t have any reason to believe the female sitting on the egg is not Moxie, they also have not confirmed it is her.

“It could be, but we have not 100 percent confirmed it,” Putt said.

Peregrine falcons generally lay a clutch of three to five eggs, so officials are hopeful more will join the egg first seen Wednesday. They usually hatch 32 days later.

Previous residents of the nest, Roosevelt and Freedom, were old by falcon standards and were last seen in 2011.

The nest is 400 feet up, and conditions there seem harsh by human standards, but it’s perfect for peregrine falcons who normally nest atop tall cliffs and hunt their prey – usually smaller birds – by diving at high speed and capturing them in midair.

“I’ve seen them flying around outside the building,” Putt said.

“It sounds gross, but it’s really neat to actually watch them eat a pigeon.”

In October, peregrine falcons came off Indiana’s endangered species list.

Fifty years ago, decreased reproduction resulting from pesticides and natural habitat loss put the birds on the edge of extinction, and by 1965, none nested east of the Mississippi River, and western populations declined by 90 percent.

The first U.S. reintroduction projects began in 1974; the Indiana Department of Natural Resources released 60 young falcons in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Evansville as part of its reintroduction program over a four-year period beginning in 1991.

Indiana now has had 10 or more successful nesting pairs for 12 consecutive years.

dstockman@jg.net

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