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Falcons return to breed on chimney at thermal power plant in west Japan

Falcon chicks are seen on a chimney at the Chugoku Electric Power Co.'s Shin-Onoda Power Station in the city of Sanyo-Onoda, Yamaguchi Prefecture, in this photo provided by the company.

SANYO-ONODA, Yamaguchi -- Falcons have returned to breed on a chimney at a thermal power plant in this western Japan city in what has become a spring tradition.

    Endangered raptors came to a nest box set up on the 200-meter-tall chimney at the Chugoku Electric Power Co.'s Shin-Onoda Power Station this spring again to breed. Three chicks have already been confirmed, and they have been seen vigorously pecking at food brought to them by their parents. They are apparently expected to leave the nest permanently before June.

    In 1992, falcons breeding on a former crow's nest on the chimney were found for the first time. Raptors have since been seen breeding there every year, and stainless-steel nest boxes were installed at heights of 50 meters and 100 meters in 2000 to assist with stable breeding following a suggestion from the Wild Bird Society of Japan.

    A breeding pair came to the lower nest box -- measuring 80 centimeters in width, 50 cms in height, and 65 cms in depth -- in March this year, and three hatched chicks were confirmed in mid-April. The power station's head Hideaki Misawa told the Mainichi Shimbun, "We warmly watch over them like parents until they leave the nest."

    (Japanese original by Seiichiro Yanase, Ube Local Bureau)

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