News Release

Woodmen of the World Marks 25 Years of Peregrine Falcon Program

March 15, 2013

Omaha, Neb. – There is plenty to celebrate in 2013 for the 25th anniversary of the Woodmen of the World Peregrine Falcon Program, including a new reigning king of downtown Omaha.

Faithful falcon observers alerted Woodmen of the World early last week of their suspicions of a new male falcon in the nest on the 28th floor of the Woodmen Tower. The new male falcon’s identity is unknown, but Nebraska Game and Parks confirmed the replacement of longtime patriarch, Zeus.

In hopes of finding out the new male falcon’s identity, a camera has been set up to take photos every two seconds in an attempt to get a clear shot of the new bird’s band numbers.

Meanwhile, excitement builds at the Woodmen Tower as associates guess the area of origin of Hera’s new mystery mate. Woodmen of the World would like to invite the public to join in on the fun. On Monday, March 18, Woodmen of the World will hold a ”Who’s That Bird?” sweepstakes inviting the public to guess which U.S.state or other country the new male falcon came from. The sweepstakes will end at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 22, and the winner will be announced after a positive identification has been made. Visit Woodmen of the World’s corporate Facebook page for details (Facebook.com/WOWInsurance).

This silver anniversary brings with it the opportunity for the public to enjoy watching the new era of falcon chicks. In addition, the appearance of a new male falcon contributes to the developing story of how peregrines interact and establish pair bonds.

Aiding an Endangered Species

In the 1950s the peregrine falcon population had been drastically reduced due to pesticide poisoning. Efforts began to increase the population by breeding peregrines in captivity and releasing them into the wild. Many of the birds migrated to cities where they nested in tall skyscrapers and fed on pigeons. In 1988, the Nebraska Peregrine Falcon Project released a pair of falcons atop the Woodmen Tower. Thus began a long relationship between peregrine falcons and Woodmen of the World.

Since 1988, peregrines at the Woodmen Tower have hatched more than 60 chicks. Woodmen of the World works closely with Raptor Recovery Nebraska to monitor the falcons and ensure the success of the program. This partnership has been instrumental in aiding the Nebraska peregrine population. “The tower was integral to the nesting habits of the falcons,” said Denise Lewis of Raptor Recovery Nebraska. “If Woodmen of the World hadn’t stepped up, it would not have happened.”

The unknown male and Hera, the current falcon tower residents, are expected to lay their eggs in March, with the babies hatching about a month later. The annual banding of the falcons will take place about two weeks after that and will include representatives from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Raptor Recovery Nebraska, as well as guests from area nature organizations.

Silver Anniversary Celebration

Woodmen of the World will be holding the annual “Name the Falcon” contest again this year through Facebook (Facebook.com/WOWInsurance). The winner of the contest will receive a framed photo of the falcons with the winning names on it, and will be invited to next year’s banding event.

Special educational activities have also been planned to commemorate the anniversary. Woodmen of the World has partnered with Fontenelle Forest and Raptor Recovery Nebraska to create educational materials for third through fifth graders, including a scavenger hunt and a food chain worksheet. The group will be working with area schools, and all materials will also be available online for anyone to use. There will be a video podcast at Fontenelle Forest with the educational falcon from Raptor Recovery Nebraska, which will also be available online, and people around the country will be encouraged to view the live cam to watch the falcons.

For younger students, Woodmen of the World will be creating a coloring sheet celebrating the falcons. Any child who sends in one of the colored sheets will see their work hung in the background during the banding ceremony.
The public can find out more about the 25th anniversary celebration and the new falcon chicks at the web site at www.Woodmen.org/falcons. They can also follow the Woodmen Falcons through their Twitter account @WoodmenFalcons.

25th-Anniversary Activities Include:

  • Annual banding of the new falcons on the 28th floor of the Woodmen Tower. Usually in mid-May. Participants will include the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Raptor Recovery Center, as well as guests from area nature organizations. (Media welcome.)
  • Annual “Name the Falcon” contest. Open to the public. Visit www.woodmen.org /falcons following the banding, for details, pictures of the chicks, and a list of winning names from past contests.
  • Fund raiser through online sale of anniversary t-shirts, with a portion of proceeds to benefit Raptor Recovery. Visit the Woodmen Store at www.woodmen.org.
  • For more information, visit www.woodmen.org/falcons.

Woodmen of the World was founded in 1890 as a not-for-profit. We give back to our member-customers and the communities we live in. Today, Woodmen of the World offers insurance, annuities, mutual funds,* and 529 College Savings Plans.* More than 700,000 Woodmen of the World member-customers across the country share a commitment to family, community and country. To learn more about Woodmen of the World, visit woodmen.org.