Peregrine Falcon Chicks Named for Stars in Orion's Belt
LINCOLN, Neb. – -(AmmoLand.com)- The peregrine falcon chicks hatched atop the Nebraska State Capitol building have been named Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka – after the three bright stars that comprise the belt of the constellation Orion, the Hunter, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission announced Friday, June 25.
Game and Parks conducted its annual contest to name the chicks. The winning entry was submitted by Joan Darling of Lincoln.
“These are the three stars in Orion, the Hunter's belt, which is such a dominant feature of the Nebraska night sky,” Darling wrote in her entry. “Like Orion, peregrine falcons are mighty hunters in the sky. These chicks also are webcam ‘stars'.”
The three stars of the belt were prominent in ancient timekeeping because they mark the northern night sky when the sun is at its lowest point.
For the record, one male chick (leg band identification 24/C) is Alnitak, one male (25/C) is Alnilam and the female (53/H) is Mintaka.
More than 350 contest entries were received from 12 states. For her winning entry, Darling will receive, among other prizes, a stuffed toy peregrine falcon and a one-year subscription to NEBRASKAland Magazine.
The chicks, which should be taking their first flight soon, may be viewed on Game and Parks' Falconcam, although they are increasingly moving outside the camera’s field of view.
View the Falconcam at http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/wildlife/webcam/peregrine/default.asp .
This is the fifth year the peregrine pair has successfully raised young. One chick was raised in 2005, three in '06, and four in both '07 and '09. No chicks were successfully fledged in 2008.