Hatchlings spotted on DNR FalconCam, new EagleCam in the works

A peregrine falcon faces towards a camera.
A female peregrine falcon that nested at the DNR's FalconCam location in 2010. New hatchlings have begun to emerge from their eggs from the DNR FalconCam in downtown St. Paul.
Courtesy of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Quick Read

The female peregrine falcon returns to the nest on the 26th floor of the Town Square Tower in downtown St. Paul

Updated 6:54 a.m.

With three new babies and a growing social media presence, it’s safe to say Arcadia the peregrine falcon is flying high these days.

A star of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources FalconCam for the second consecutive year, Arcadia returned this season to the DNR’s livestreamed nest, which sits perched on the 26th floor of Town Square Tower in downtown St. Paul.

Three hatchlings were recently spotted as the nesting parents — Arcadia has a new mate this year, sporting a band from Chicago — continue to incubate four eggs laid this spring, the DNR said.

A view from the DNR FalconCam
Arcadia the peregrine falcon feeds her three hatchlings on Thursday, May 23, 2024.
MN DNR Nongame Wildlife Program

“I was watching it for like four hours and never got to see white fluff around … she sits so tight on them,” said Lori Naumann, a communication specialist with the DNR’s nongame wildlife program, on Wednesday. “I think because the temperature’s a little bit cooler, and she wants to make sure that they're kept warm, nice and warm.”

Interest in the FalconCam leaped last year after the DNR’s popular EagleCam nest fell during an early April storm. Naumann told MPR News this week that the DNR is still working to finalize the return of the EagleCam.

First flights can be a problem

Arcadia was banded in 2013 at a nesting box at the state prison in St. Cloud. Her mate this season is about two years her senior.

“That’s pretty typical,” Naumann said. “It’s usually the female that stays around and keeps the territory, but not always. I say usually because wildlife is so unpredictable.”

In a typical season, falcons will lay three or four eggs, taking about two to three days between each egg to lay the next. The eggs can take about 30 to 35 days to incubate and hatch.

This year, staff estimated the first egg would hatch around Friday, May 17, but it didn’t hatch until Tuesday, May 21. Naumann said it’s typical to have a little bit of a delay, since females will wait to start incubating until they finish laying all their eggs for the season.

The young will take another six weeks to mature and start to make their first attempts at flight in early July.

That first flight for the young falcons can be problematic. Naumann said she has frequently been called by raptor watchers or specialists at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota with a report of a young falcon that lands in a parking ramp or on Seventh and Wabasha streets downtown.

“That can obviously get really dangerous.” Naumann said. “Then they’ll call me or some other volunteer to go to the Raptor Center and bring it back to the building and release it on the roof.”

Before they make their first flight, and eventually leave the nest, the Midwest Peregrine Society will band the chicks to help track and identify them.

‘That’s what eagles do’

Naumann told MPR News that the DNR is still working to finalize the return of the EagleCam.

After the nest featured in the longtime EagleCam fell in 2023 due to an aging tree branch, strong winds and heavy snowfall, the DNR vowed to restore a livestream.

Naumann said that the DNR continued to monitor the pair after the nest fell, and discovered they began to build a nest within the same general area.

“So when the nest fell last year, they were so busy for so many months, you know, incubating and preparing them and then feeding these chicks. And all of a sudden, they had nothing to do. Their nest was gone, their chick was gone,” she said. “So they get busy, that’s what eagles do. They’re making a nest or restoring a nest almost all year round.”

Before the camera can be installed, staff have to confirm that the eagles will stay at the nest they built, or if they’ll move to a new location.

Once staff is confident the eagles have established their territory, there’s the matter of providing the power to the web camera. Naumann said the previous camera had easy access to electricity, but this time might be more challenging. The DNR has been in talks with Xcel Energy on how to supply the power for the camera.

“We don’t have anything permanent yet,” she said. “We’re working on it. But we have that possibility, as well as a couple of other nests that are nearby.”

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