Three chicks hatched over the weekend in the peregrine falcon nest high atop a downtown building, One Capitol Center at 10th and Main streets. You can see their progress, and that of the parents who are carefully tending them, on a live webcam here, sponsored by the Peregrine Fund, Idaho Fish & Game and Fiberpipe. The chicks weighed about an ounce and a half when they hatched, but will be full grown by the time they leave the nest. According to the Peregrine Fund, by the time they fledge in July, the young falcons will be 18 inches tall and have a wingspan of more than 3 feet. Young falcons typically fledge five to six weeks after hatching.
For now, the adults are brooding the chicks, keeping them warm as they're too small to regulate their own body temperature; that will continue for about 10 days. The nest box, on the 14th floor of the office tower, has been used by wild peregrine falcons each spring since 2003; falcons typically nest on rocky cliffs or tall buildings like the one in Boise that simulate a rocky cliff environment.
Once an endangered species, the peregrine falcon was restored through a captive-breeding and release program by the Peregrine Fund. The fast-flying bird of prey, known for its spectacular high-speed dives, was removed from the endangered species list in 1999. Today, there are about two dozen breeding pairs in Idaho.