April 2, 2013, Thurston Talk
The Star and Paceco Gantry cranes which have towered above Budd Inlet since the 1990’s are coming down. And the Peregrine Falcons who nested on the Star for 10 years are scoping out their nesting box, now on downtown’s tallest building.
This week Orion Marine begins deconstructing the cranes, starting with the boom assemblies. They will transfer the parts to a materials barge and the Arctic Tuk barge which arrived on April 2. The barges will carry the crane parts to a salvage yard in British Columbia.
The project could take up to a month to complete, partly because work will stop when a vessel is in berth 2. For example, when the Corella Arrow calls next week, the barges will anchor out in the bay and return to dock when the ship has gone.
What about the Peregrine Falcons?
Each year, Glenn Phillips and Jack Lewis, volunteer peregrine falcon experts, briefly remove the chicks from their nest on the crane and band them for identification purposes. The Olympian memorializes the babies for the community with front page photos and stories. And year after year, the downy chicks steal our hearts!
Learning that the cranes were scheduled for removal, Phillips recommended the Capitol Center Building rooftop as the best site for the box. The building is downtown’s tallest and is near Budd Inlet.
Building general manager Neil Falkenburg graciously offered a site for the nesting box on the rooftop’s mechanical structure. Falkenburg, Phillips and Port staff installed the box on March 11, prior to nesting season.
Peregrine falcons typically lay their eggs around April 1. The chicks hatch about the first of May and take flight around mid-June.
Over the last two weeks, the Port has had several reports of the peregrine falcons swooping over the Capitol Center Building, but it is not known whether they are nesting there. The birds have not nested on either of the Port cranes.