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‘This really happened:’ New children’s book showcases Boise and peregrine falcons

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For years, watching a bird’s nest high above the Boise skyline became an annual event in the Treasure Valley and beyond. A webcam, perched atop the One Capital Center building in Downtown Boise showed a peregrine falcon nest. Each spring, the large birds of prey would set up shop in an alcove on the 11th story of the building, with the wathcful lens of the camera broadcasting the “action” worldwide.

Now, a new illustrated book by a first-time author Doug Chapman uses the events as a jumping-off point. Chapman and his boss Ken Birch installed the camera for Boise’s The Peregrine Fund as part of their work at Fiberpipe.

“The live webcam was very popular locally and around the world and I was able to witness the daily struggles of the urban peregrine falcons,” Chapman said. “In 2012, a poem formed in my head that was a direct reflection of what was happening in the nest box at the time.”

True tale from Downtown Boise

That poem serves as the basis for the new book, Fledge on a Ledge. Part real-life story, part educational book and part illustrated post-card to Boise, the book looks at a 2012 incident on the 11th-story perch.

[World Center for Birds of Prey plans big expansion; FUNDSY to help raise donations]

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“This really happened,” Chapman said. “This little peregrine chick fell out of the nest box with hundreds of people watching live online. There was a huge emotional response from people asking someone to rescue this little bird.”

Fledge on a Ledge tells the story from egg laying, to hatching, through that unfortunate fall from the perch all the way through the rescue and finally – successful flight for the new falcons.

The Peregrine Fund south of Boise helped the species recover after DDT wreaked havoc on the shells of the falcons’ eggs. In 1999, the birds left the endangered species list.

For all ages

While Fledge on a Ledge is an illustrated book aimed at children, Chapman said he thinks many people will enjoy it.

[Could an icon of Downtown Boise’s skyline someday get a sibling?]

“It’s definitely a fun story for all ages but is designed for kids,” he said. “Before I published I would read the poem to my friends and they loved it and encouraged me to share it with the world. The Boise Library system loved it and purchased copies for all of their branches.”

Chapman wrote the story and started the illustration process with help from his publisher’s art department.

“This was a long process as I wanted the look and feel of being in downtown Boise with the amazing architecture and view of the foothills,” he said.

Stylized views of the Idanha, Idaho Statehouse, One Capital Center and the foothills bring a Boise texture to the book.

You can buy Fledge on a Ledge through bookstores, online or in eReader stores.

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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