UB South is playing host to a pair of peregrine falcons, who have settled into a custom-made nest atop the Mackay Heating Plant, and experts who have observed the pair think they may already be sitting on eggs.
You may remember the peregrine falcons that roosted on the Statler Building in 1997. There has been a succession of falcons since then, all visible via this “falconcam” courtesy of The Buffalo Audubon Society since 2002.
Seen as a positive sign because there has been a decades-long effort to reintroduce the endangered birds to the Northeast, UB has been hatching the plan to make a home for the falcons since they were seen circling the campus last spring. New York State now has the highest population of peregrines in the Northeast. They were completely eliminated from the east in the 60s due to pesticide residue in their main food source, other birds.
After DEC biologists confirmed the sightings at UB South, special permission was sought and granted to build a nest 137 feet atop the plant’s tower through the NYS Office of Historic Preservation. The plant proves to be a good home for the falcons, as they typically build 50 to 200 feet above the ground. UB Facilities carpenters built the box and installed it at the end of February.
Nearby, there is also a nest on the South Grand Island Bridge and one on a defunct power plant on the Canadian side of the Niagara Gorge. In all of New York State, there are 67 pairs of peregrines. Of them, 60 bred and hatched a total of 130 young in 2008.