At first blush it may seem surprising, but Fargo is a remarkably good place for watching one of nature’s most spectacular creatures – the peregrine falcon.
It has mostly to do with relatively unobstructed views and low skylines. The Bank of the West building may be tall by our standards, but it is actually one of the lowest urban nest sites utilized by peregrines.
The web cameras provide a unique view of activities at the nest box. However, peregrines need to be seen first hand to be truly appreciated.
For obvious reasons, the nest box is a good place to start. It sits near the top of the east wall of the Bank of the West building, and is unmistakable. The adults often perch for extended periods on this box or the signs below it. Other popular roosts include the communications tower at the intersection of Fourth Street and Main Avenue, the high rise apartment building by the Red River, and the sign tower on top of the Forum building. In any case, look near the top of the structure as peregrines almost invariably select high vantage points.
One of the best vantage points for falcon watchers is the top of the parking ramp between the Bank of the West and Wells Fargo buildings. This is as close to the nest box as you can get, and provides a good view of the birds as they come and go.
Remember that these are wild birds, with unpredictable behavior. Some patience may be required, but they can reappear as suddenly as they depart.
Be sure to listen as you watch. Peregrines are very vocal, and are often heard before they are seen.