Fans of Salt Lake City falcon cam face empty nesting area for first time in years

Posted at 6:13 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 20:13:49-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Bird lovers have had the rare opportunity to watch Peregrine Falcons raise their young year after year since 2003 thanks to a web camera in Salt Lake City, but not this year.

The camera was installed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Services and is hosted by the LDS Church on a ledge at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

Robert Walters directs the Watchable Wildlife Program for the DWR, and he's been watching for Peregrines to settle in.

"For whatever reason, they didn't select to use this territory," Walters said. "The territory's open, and we don't have birds."

For several years, one nesting couple has occupied the downtown terrace, giving birth to four chicks in the last two years.

Last year, the adult female in the couple died, after volunteers found her sick on the ground below the nest.

"Now it's up for some other bird, whether it's male or female, to claim the territory," Walters said.

Walters still holds out hope, saying a bird could choose the nest at any time, even though the usual period for settling down has passed.

Walters says he and other falcon enthusiasts have done what they can. The only other steps to take?

"There's virtually nothing short of crossing your fingers, hoping," Walters said.