Bird watching in Columbus – from Cleveland!

New male 2010 - ODNR Photo

A few years ago while doing research on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources web site, I stumbled on the page dedicated to Ohio’s only live, Web-based video stream of an active peregrine falcon nest located on the 41st floor ledge of the Rhodes State Office Tower in Columbus.   What fun it has been, watching the courting, breeding, egglaying, hatching and fledging of these beautiful birds!  They mostly ignore the cameras but sometimes they really look like “What are you lookin’ at?!”  Also, at some point the chicks will start shooting poop on the nest cam until it’s almost totally blocked.  It’s just what they do.

2010 Photo from ODNR

ODNR’s web cams include a ledge cam view, above, and a nest box view – in this photo a Northern flicker was the meal of the day. 

Columbus Nest Box - ODNR Photo

Also on the web site, Latest Happenings & Updates, Falcon Expert Donna Daniel’s blog keeps viewers up to date with the action in the Columbus Peregrine nest and cams.

Some other brave birds visit too, like these pigeons.  Can you say easy “Peregrine pickins’ “?










Resident falcons this year are Scout, a female resident since 2007 and a new unknown male.  (Unknown because he bears no leg tag.)  Scout’s mate from last year, Orville, was found dead on July 6, 2009, probably as a result of a collision.    As reported by Donna Daniel:

A Columbus police officer found him [Orville] in the street near W. Town & S. Gift St. Saturday morning, July 4. I have examined the carcass and noted a broken beak and blood in the cere, thus he likely collided with something and the cause of death would be head trauma. There aren’t any tall buildings in that area of Columbus so he may have been struck by a car as he was cruising across the roadway. The death was certainly not related to Red, White and Boom held the previous evening.

Looking back on Orville’s history – he fledged from the Dayton nest in 2003 and showed up in Columbus in 2004, replacing our then long-time nesting male, Bandit. He paired with our female at the time–Victory–but no eggs were produced. Victory and Orville produced 2 young in 2005, and 4 young in 2006. In 2007, Victory was replaced by Scout but eggs laid that season were infertile. Scout and Orville fledged four young in each 2008 and 2009 bringing Orville’s total young raised during his lifetime to 14.

A salute to you Orville!  There is a contest going on to name the new male.  Check out the ODNR’s website to add your idea.  The names for the nestling falcons at the Columbus nest are chosen through a contest held by a local school each year.  The egg watch has begun, to see if Scout produces eggs this year and if they hatch. 

Columbus is not the only location in Ohio with nest cams, just the only LIVE cams.  Cleveland’s falcons are Ranger and SW.  The CNMH Falcon Cam is maintained by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Here are a couple of still photos of the nest on the Terminal Tower in Cleveland.  Eggs have already been laid here!

Eggs in snow, March 26, 2010 - CMNH Photo

Scout and SW - photo by Cleveland viewer

There are 29 falcon nesting sites in Ohio, as shown on this map maintained by the Ohio Department of  Natural Resources.   Data is maintained by each, though not all have cameras.

Ohio Falcon Nesting Sites - 2009

Can’t get enough Peregrines?  There are plenty more Peregrine Falcon web sites, including Rome, Italy and the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project in England.  These are all great sites, dedicated to the preservation of these noble birds, but I think you will see that Columbus, Ohio, has the best cams and best maintained web site, all due to the dedication and hard work of the nest’s “admin”, Donna Daniel.

Note:  If you work in downtown Columbus, do you ever see the falcons?  I would love to hear your story!


About SallyK

A little blog about the ordinary and not so ordinary things our family does, places we travel, things we see. Like travel, cooking, family stories, book reviews, music? You will find it all here - comments welcome!
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