Streaming Now: 'The Louise & Lil' Kool Show'
If you are tired of television or need a break from Netflix, consider watching The Louise & Lil' Kool Show on their Nest Cam. Louise and Lil' Kool aren't celebrities -- or even humans. They are a breeding pair of peregrine falcons who currently reside on top of the Rockford Register Star news tower.
Louise recently laid four eggs that are expected to hatch the week of May 18. Sinnissippi Audubon Society President Jennifer Kuroda encourages the public to watch the "show" at any time.
"It's a perfect opportunity," she said, "to kind of see the outdoor world and what's going on." She continued, "Mostly, Louise is the one sitting on the nest, incubating. Lil' Kool will bring her food, and when he does that, she'll get up and take a break, and he'll incubate the eggs."
This is Louise's third clutch at the news tower. Unlike most peregrine falcons, she overwinters in Rockford. That means she doesn't migrate to a warmer environment when the temperatures dip. Kuroda believes the bird stays to protect her territory at the downtown location.
Lil' Kool, on the other hand, most likely migrates. Kuroda said he left the area in the fall but returned on March 28. This is his second clutch with Louise at the site.
Typically, peregrine falcons are cliff dwellers. They've adapted to urban living, so they use tall buildings. But while there is a "Nest Cam," falcons don't actually build a nest. They scratch or make an indentation in gravel directly on the cliff edge and lay their eggs there. Because the news tower is a building, not a cliff, Louise used a perilous drainage channel to lay her first egg.
"There was no gravel in there," Kuroda said. "Once we realized that was the area she was going to use, we put down a mesh liner and put gravel in there to elevate it so that when the channel does fill up with water, the eggs are protected."
Kuroda said the Nest Cam provides an educational opportunity. It allows students of all ages to view courtship behavior along with breeding and feeding patterns. And, she said, "You get to watch the chicks develop over the course of 30-40 days before they fledge."
Peregrine falcons have been at the news tower since 2018. The name of the first bird was Hightower. His whereabouts are unknown. Falcons Gigi, Peaches, and Freddie Van Tweet are also missing. Sweeney's body was found in Texas in January.
The average lifespan of a peregrine falcon is 12-15 years, though the mortality rate is very high in first year birds.
If you are interested in getting off the internet and seeing other birds in their natural habitat, Kuroda recommends visiting Colored Sands Forest Preserve. And if you would like to protect birds and help bring more birds back to the area, Kuroda said, "Plant native plants in your yard. Get rid of your lawn. You don't really need it unless you have kids or pets and they want to play on the lawn."
She emphasized that native plants attract birds, pollinators and insects. "They are a part of the life cycle for birds."
"Of course," Kuroda added, "peregrine falcons eat other birds, which is also part of that life cycle."
To watch The Louise & Lil' Kool Show, visit the Sinnissippi Audubon Society's website.