Falcons again rule the roost outside Regional Chamber

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Tom Humphries

By Peter H. Milliken



Downtown’s peregrine falcons once again have chosen the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber as their nesting site.

The female bird, named Stellar, and the male, named Stammy, are incubating two eggs on a 16th-floor window ledge of the First National Bank Tower, outside the office of Tom Humphries, chamber president.

Peregrines were upgraded by the federal government in 2008 from endangered to threatened species status because of increases in their population.

Humphries said he has enjoyed seeing the raptors outside his office in recent years, both at the First National Tower and at the chamber’s previous location across the street at the Stambaugh Building, where the pair previously had a rooftop nest.

Stammy is named for the Stambaugh Building.

“I feel pretty lucky to have them outside my window,” Humphries said.

If incubation is successful, the eggs should hatch next week, said Laura Graber, a wildlife research technician with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, who visited the site March 22 with Damon Greer, an assistant wildlife supervisor at ODNR.

Humphries said the falcons serve as an entertaining conversation starter for meetings he conducts with business prospects in his office. “They’re awesome to watch,” he said. “It’s wildlife at its best right outside my window,” he added.

“When we have the window cleaning, they do get very protective, and the one will stay with the eggs, but the other one will start circling to protect” the nest, Humphries said.

After several years of nesting at the Stambaugh Building, Stammy and Stellar had an unsuccessful nesting attempt early in 2009 at the First National Tower, 11 Central Square, in which the eggs got wet and chilled and the embryos died.

Later that year, the pair nested successfully on a window ledge outside the fourth-floor law library at the Mahoning County Courthouse, 120 Market St.

All three birds that hatched there — males named Freedom and Justice and a female named Tort — fledged from the courthouse nest, but Freedom was run over and killed by a vehicle on the Market Street bridge shortly after making his first flight.

A rooftop nesting attempt by Stammy and Stellar last year at the 17-story International Towers apartment building, 25 Market St., failed after a newborn chick apparently died of weakness or exposure to the cold and rain, Greer said.

ODNR is now monitoring 21 peregrine falcon nests in eight Northeast Ohio counties.

If newborns hatch here this year, ODNR plans to put identification bands on them before they fledge from the nest if it can obtain safe access to them, Graber said.

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