Animal Law

More falcons join courthouse nesting trend; baby birds may hatch in Ohio clock tower by end of month


Two peregrine falcons have taken up residence in an Ohio courthouse whose clock tower is the highest spot in Ottawa County.

Now baby birds are anticipated before the end of the month, after state officials and local volunteers monitoring a nesting box with a see-through wall found spotted four eggs there Tuesday, the News-Messenger reports. The falcons were first seen at the courthouse in February.

“I was told the fun really begins about three or four weeks after hatching when the birds start wandering around outside the box on a 60-foot high ledge,” the county’s facilities manager, Jim Adkins, told the newspaper. “Then at 6 to 8 weeks, they will start flying around the area.” By September, the falcon family is expected to fly south.

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Peregrine falcon. Image from Shutterstock.

Although the birds, which are considered a threatened species in the state, traditionally nest on cliffs, they are also known to nest in tall buildings.

Courthouses apparently appeal to the species. Peregrine falcons have been nesting and hatching eggs in a Union County, New Jersey, courthouse tower for years, according to a Suburban News article published in 2011.

A pair of the birds were spotted earlier this year scouting out a potential nesting location at a courthouse in El Cajon, California, ABC 10 News reported.

And they have also established family homes at the historic Taunton Superior Courthouse in Massachusetts, the Taunton Daily Gazette reported last year; at the Kent County Courthouse in Grand Rapids, Mich., as a state Department of Natural Resources website detailed last year; and at the Wood County Courthouse in Bowling Green, Ohio, Toledo News Now reported in 2012.

“Five years ago it would have been unheard-of,” Tom French, who serves as assistant director of MassWildlife, told the Gazette. But “the courthouse is clearly working well for them. It’s absolutely another sign that the peregrine is coming back strong.”

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “2 cats roam courthouse dome, tasked with scaring pigeons away”

ABAJournal.com: “Osprey so far prevails in battle to build nest in front of traffic cam”

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