Port of Olympia Should Help Falcons Find New Home

Editorial Staff, December 13, 2013, The Olympian

The Port of Olympia has bid adieu to the second of two container cranes that sit on the port marine terminal docks on the Olympia waterfront, largely unused — make that obsolete.

The port deals mostly in bulk cargoes and ships with their own on-board cranes. The twin, 190-foot-tall behemouths were purchased used from the Port of Los Angeles in 1996 to serve a Russian shipping line that quit calling on the port shortly after it started.

One crane was declared surplus in March and the second one met the same fate this week.

The decision to surplus the second crane is complicated by the fact that a pair of peregrine falcons have been nesting on the crane for the past 13 years, often successfully hatching one or more chicks.

What’s going to happen to the falcons once the crane is gone? It’s a fair question that will be asked by many in the community who have enjoyed watching the annual spring hatching and fledging of the chicks, as well as the soaring and feeding adults.

Port officials have said they will work with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to locate and perhaps enhance an alternative nesting site for the falcons. How that will play out, and whether or not the peregrine pair will take a shine to a new, human-picked site is anybody’s guess.

But the port and wildlife biologists who have falcon expertise need to work together on a serious attempt to make the best of what, for the falcons, is a loss of prime urban habitat.

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