May 25, 2014 in Region

Peregrine falcon nest behind governor’s mansion fails

John Dodge Olympian
 

OLYMPIA – The peregrine falcon nest occupied by an adult pair and their two chicks in a Douglas fir snag behind the governor’s mansion has failed, bringing a sudden, sad end to what had been a story followed closely by the community.

Aaron Barna, a state legislative photographer who had discovered the occupied nest more than a week ago, reported the nest failure to the Olympian on Friday.

It was believed that the peregrine pair nesting in the old, abandoned bald eagle nest was the same pair that had nested for years in a Port of Olympia cargo crane that was dismantled and shipped off to a Canadian scrap yard in April.

For several weeks, no one knew whether the port pair had found a new nest site in time to rear chicks this year.

Barna said he searched – joined by Gov. Jay Inslee – for the young chicks for about 30 minutes Friday afternoon but found no sign of them. They were believed to be about 3 weeks old.

“I have no idea what happened,” he said.

The nest was known to be in poor shape, unattended since a pair of bald eagles ditched it right after the February 2001 Nisqually Earthquake.

It’s not known if the nest failed on its own or if it came under attack by predators, Barna said. While searching under the nest tree, there was no sign of the adult falcons either, suggesting they have abandoned the site.

Barna speculated that the loss of the nest could lead to a push to place a nest box on the Capitol Dome, a place frequented by the peregrine falcons – and perhaps a more secure nest site.


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