LINCOLN, Neb. – “Orozco,” a male peregrine falcon hatched at the Nebraska Capitol in 2015, has been observed in Omaha.
Orozco is one of two falcons frequenting the north tower of St. Cecilia’s Cathedral in Omaha. Nature photographer Mike Benkis captured photographs of the pair that revealed that at least one of the birds was banded. The other falcon has not been identified.
Many peregrine falcons across the Midwest are banded as chicks shortly after hatching, including peregrine chicks banded by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in Lincoln and Omaha. Benkis’ photographs were able to confirm that this falcon was Orozco, based on the unique alphanumeric leg band that was placed on this falcon’s leg in May 2015. The falcon had been named in honor of Omaha police officer Kerrie Orozco, who lost her life in the line of duty in May 2015.
Omaha police Sgt. Matt Manhart was one of four people to suggest the winning name in the annual name-the-chick contest. He thinks he knows why Orozco is in Omaha. “She is watching over the citizens of Omaha and her brothers and sisters of the Omaha Police Department,” Manhart said.
The other people who suggested the winning name were state Sen. Kate Bolz, Amanda Horner and Rebecca McCoy, all of Lincoln.
Orozco the falcon was last sighted in September 2015 at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue. He is the sixth peregrine falcon hatched at the Nebraska Capitol that has been spotted as an adult away from its natal site. It is suspected Orozco and his mate may be nesting at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral, which would be the third peregrine falcon nesting territory in Omaha and the fourth in the state.