Famous "Capitol Falcons" have unsuccessful nesting year

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LINCOLN, Neb. Each year, many Nebraskans keep an eye on the two peregrine falcons that have a home near the top of the Nebraska State Capitol building.

The falcons are named Alley and 19/K, and they have been nesting in that spot since 2005. This year, the falcons had a total of five eggs; however, none of those eggs survived.

“Two were lost during the month of May,” said Joel Jorgensen, with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, “and the other three were later consumed by the female falcon.”

Joel Jorgensen is the Nongame Bird Program Manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He says the eggs were well beyond the expected hatching day and were infertile. He attributes the infertility to the age of the falcons.

“The male peregrine falcon is an old man in falcon years,” said Jorgensen. “Just like people (and every other animal on earth), once you get older, you start slowing down a little bit.”

The male falcon, 19/K, is 16 years old. The female, Alley, is 13 years old.

This isn’t the first hardship the two birds have encountered. They also had a very difficult 2016 year.

“19/K had a bad wing injury,” said Jorgensen. “Usually wing injuries on birds are very serious and can be the end for those birds. Lucky, he was rehabilitated, and he has come back strong.”

Even though the loss is disappointing, Jorgensen says it’s not all negative.

“These birds have had a lot of success over the last 13 years. They’ve produced 23 young falcons. This year shouldn’t overshadow all the success they’ve had.”

The falcons are expected to stick around the State Capitol even without chicks (also called eyasses). If you would like to keep track of the progress, you can watch this live stream all year.