The number of rooftop residents living atop the 33 South Sixth Street office tower will soon triple when four baby peregrine falcons are born to the adult pair nesting on the Downtown building attached to City Center.
City Center visitors can monitor the late May hatching on a large-screen television via a video camera set up by Eagan Automation and building management. Signs will direct visitors to the monitor in the City Center atrium, on the shopping center's first floor, near the entrance to the office tower.
The adults are one of three pairs nesting Downtown, according to Erin Harney, marketing manager for Brookfield Properties, which manages City Center. The others live atop City Hall, 350 S 5th St., and Midwest Plaza, 801 Nicollet Mall.
A wooden box has been constructed for the birds of prey to use as a nest.
The due date is May 23, according to retired University of Minnesota Ecology Professor Bud Tordoff, now with the University's Raptor Center. Turdoff will conduct a "banding" ceremony at City Center, during which visitors will be able to view the newborn birds up close as they are fitted with bands that allow them to be tracked.
"Ten years from now, when the bird comes back and is a mama, we can say, 'Hey this bird was born here!'" Harney said.
Peregrines usually nest and lay their eggs on the bare rock of high cliffs or bluffs overlooking a river or coastline, according to the Web site. Recently, many have taken to nesting in tall buildings.
The falcons may be keeping the pigeon population in check; speedy peregrines feed almost exclusively on birds that they catch in flight, from songbirds to herons and ducks.