In 1990, a pair of peregrine falcons, an endangered species, showed up near the top of the First Interstate Bank in Fargo. They appeared to be looking for a nest site, so a nesting tray was quickly installed near the top of the east wall. Unfortunately, the female departed during the process, and after several weeks, the male also moved on. For the next nine years, a single wild peregrine spent a few days at the bank each May. Many believe it was the original female, now retracing her migration path to the Arctic.
When the Community First National Bank took over the building and mounted new signs, they took steps to keep the nest tray in place, just in case. In the spring of 2000, they were rewarded by a veritable flock of peregrines looking to establish territories. Three or even four birds simultaneously vied for the nesting tray, and after a few weeks, North Dakota had its first bonafide pair of peregrine falcons almost 50 years.
In a sort of long-term relationship, first-year pairs rarely breed or nest; they bond and establish their territory. The following year, on this date, it was big news when their eggs were about to hatch. After they emerged, the fledglings were banded before leaving the nest.
The following spring, the female didn’t return, but the male had a number of females from which to choose. The new pair didn’t nest until their second summer together. They returned to a new and improved nest outfitted with a web cam. The pair raised four fledglings named Lewis, Clark, Holly and Dakota.
The nest remains active, and last year there were four new hatchlings.
Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm