By Sean Willett
The University of Calgary’s MacKimmie Library Tower will house unusual residents this summer. A mating couple of peregrine falcons have taken roost on the roof of the tower, where they will be raising their chicks over the next four months.
Callie and Gary, the two falcons nesting on top of the library tower, are regular visitors to the university, nesting on the tower in previous years. The female, Callie, has been nesting at the U of C since 2006.
Bird enthusiasts can catch a glimpse of the falcons using the live video feed set up by the university to research the birds’ behaviour. The feed uses a specially positioned camera, providing a detailed view of Callie and her nest without bothering the falcon or her young.
This year, four eggs have been laid by the couple since their arrival in March. The eggs are expected to hatch in late May.
The hatched falcons, known as eyases, will take over 40 days to lose their downy feathers and will remain dependent on their parents for the rest of the summer. In September, the falcons will migrate south to seek warmer climates.
Peregrine falcons are a protected species in Canada, and are on the endangered species watchlist. They are able to reach speeds of over 300 kilometres per hour while diving for prey, making them the fastest animal in the world.
Visit ucalgary.ca/peregrine_falcon/video for a live feed of the peregrine falcons.