Auroro feeding her chicks.

Auroro feeding her chicks.

Peregrine falcons were first introduced into downtown Columbus in 1989 as part of Peregrine Falcon Restoration Project. Other cities in Ohio, such as Akron, Dayton and Cincinnati, participated as well, releasing juvenile falcons each spring until 1992. The falcons were banded so that they could be tracked and monitored. Peregrine falcon numbers had plummeted in the 1960s due to the use of pesticides like DDT. The forty-first floor of the Rhodes Tower was selected as the site to build a nesting platform because the skyscraper could simulate the southern exposure cliffs that the peregrines prefer.

In 1994, Columbus had its first successful nest at the Rhodes Tower. The female, Aurora, was a falcon that had been released in Ontario, Canada, as part of the recovery program, while the male, Bandit, was wild. They produced nineteen chicks during five seasons of nesting.

A chick named Spirit is tagged at the Rhodes Tower, 2010

A chick named Spirit is tagged at the Rhodes Tower, 2010

The nest box at the Rhodes Tower has been occupied by falcons every year since 1994. In 2012, a female named Durand, that hatched in Canada in 2009, was joined by a male named Matrix, that fledged from Canton, Ohio in 2010. Three eggs were laid, but unfortunately none hatched.  In 2013 Durand's luck changed when she was joined by Spark, an offspring of Boomer that fledged from the Rhodes Tower in 2008.  Four eggs were laid in late March and a single chick named Zoom hatched in late April and took to the skies in June.  This past season in 2014 Durand and Spark had a banner year, successfully raising three chicks named Blaze, Hoshi and Dart.   In Columbus, the ODNR Division of Wildlife monitors the falcon nest at the Rhodes Tower via live streaming video and audio.  You can view this video and get updates on the birds' activities by going to www.wildohio.com and click on "Live Falcon Cams".