Bell coming in to land at WAMU
photo by Pat Little
May 26, 2018 UPDATE:
The peregrine nestlings were banded by Ed Deal yesterday with the cooperation of the 1201 Third Avenue engineering staff.
Ed found there to be two males and a female remaining on the ledge. Unfortunately, on their arrival at the nest box, Ed found that the smallest male was nearly dead from an unknown cause.
Since it was so close to death, Ed made the decision to let nature take its course and let it remain on the nest box where it predictably died later in the day.
It is important to also understand that it is necessary to have permission from state wildlife authorities to remove any nestlings. That usually requires extra time, something they don't have on the window washing stage suspended 56 stories above the city.
~ Bud Anderson
Seattle Peregrines Nesting at the Washington
Mutual Tower - History (written in 2009)
Peregrine Falcons first nested in downtown Seattle in 1994 on the Washington Mutual Tower. They used a nest box provided by the Falcon Research Group in cooperation with the building managers, Wright-Runstad. The nest box is located on a ledge high on the east side of the building (56th floor), and can be viewed from several adjacent buildings in the downtown area.
Over the years, there have been several different adult peregrines breeding at the tower, the most famous were Stewart and Bell, who reigned over Seattle from 1995 through 2004. Stewart disappeared, and Bell died, in the summer of 2005.
Since that time, nesting events at the tower have been more sporadic. A pair was successful in 2006, but other peregrines were unsuccessful in breeding there in both 2007 and 2008.
This year (2009), we have a pair in residence at the brand new nest box (built and donated by Martin Muller and placed by building engineer Denise Kolb). Both birds are unbanded so we do not know their specific origin, but they were most likely hatched at a nearby nest site or “eyrie” here in western Washington. The birds may be the pair that attempted nesting last year.
At the time of this writing (22 March 2009), the “new” pair are going through a typical courtship, socializing, perching together at the box, sharing prey and of course, copulating every day in preparation for the production of their eggs (usually 3-4). We cannot be certain when she will lay the first egg but it usually occurs around the last week of March or the first week of April. New pairs, however, are often late in their first year together.
The new female at WAMU in 2006 (the year after Bell died).
Photo by Pat Little
May 7, 2018 UPDATE:
Although the 1201 Third St. (formerly the WAMU Tower) nest was abandoned during the 2017 nesting season, it is again occupied during this breeding season. The pair produced four eggs and all four have hatched - one on May 2, and three on May 3.
Watch from the 1201 Third Ave. falcon cam at:
After lunch nap on May 7, 2018
A Tribute to Bell
1994 - 2005
Bell's origin is unknown. She arrived in downtown Seattle in early August 1994 and promptly formed a pair bond with Stewart, our resident male. She still had a few brown juvenile feathers, which allowed us to age her as hatch year 1993. She was twelve at the time of her death in downtown Seattle in July 2005. She died only two blocks from her home "cliff", where she successfully fledged young in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004 for a total of 26.
Not all peregrines successfully produce young year after year. Bell was one of the winners. We have monitored some of her descendants here in Seattle. Near the U-District, one of her sons can see his natal cliff every day when he flies over his territory; this bird's son, Bell's "grandson", has his own territory and a mate a few miles away and may breed for the first time this spring.
Whether we watched activity on the nest ledge from our project headquarters in a storage room in the Washington Mutual Tower, on the monitor in the bank lobby, or via the Internet, we all remember Bell -- the beautiful provider of warmth, food and protection. Who can forget Bell fluffed out over the eggs just before hatching, or gently feeding tiny young and then tucking them against her warmth? Who can forget her faithfully providing meal after meal to her rapidly growing young on the ledge and, later, to her fledglings on rooftops and ledges in downtown Seattle?
Bell's fierce protection of young and territory was not as visible on the ledge, other than during banding. But those who watched our downtown family during fledging found that Bell was truly a warrior parent, ready to do battle with any and all feathered intruders and/or humans that she perceived as threats to her young.
Through the years of watching her, we had the privilege of observing the intimate details of a female peregrine's breeding season. We had the privilege of learning from her while enjoying her beauty every day. Now there is a new pair downtown, but Bell lives on in our memories. We hope that all of you will remember her with as much affection as we do.