In the 1950s, the peregrine falcon population plummeted. The species was placed on the endangered list as scientists bred peregrines in captivity and released them into wild areas.
Some of these birds migrated to skyscrapers in eastern cities. As cliff dwellers, peregrine falcons flourished in urban settings, where tall buildings are plentiful. An abundance of pigeons and starlings supplied the falcons' diet.
Biologists recognized this adaptation to city buildings and began releasing them on urban rooftops. In 1988, the Nebraska Peregrine Falcon Project released a pair of peregrine falcons atop the WoodmenLife Tower, which was the tallest building in downtown Omaha at the time.
1988: Seven falcons hatched atop WoodmenLife Tower. Five survive. None return the following year.
1989: Five falcons hacked. Two of the five, Woody and Sky King, return in later years to establish nests.
1992: Woody and mate, Windy, hatch three chicks – Aerial, Zenith and Skywalker. These chicks are the first to hatch in Nebraska in nearly a century.
Falcons develop a family tree as every year following, a nesting pair hatches chicks atop the WoodmenLife Tower.