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What will happen to falcons' high-rise perch if Central Terminal is restored?

Now that downtown has been selected as the location for a new train station, the peregrine falcons nesting atop the Central Terminal need not be concerned about Amtrak trains pulling into and out of the East Side landmark.

On the horizon, though, is a developer who has been negotiating for more than a year to buy the terminal, with a deal possibly weeks or months away. Developer Harry Stinson intends to put commercial offices in the tower and use the concourse for entertaining, dining and special events. Apartments and a hotel also are in his plans.

Peregrines are an endangered species, and that means there are prohibitions against disturbing them.

But whatever becomes of the Central Terminal may not be a problem for the falcons, provided there’s some planning and coordination to any construction work.

“There are several peregrine nests across New York State that are located in occupied buildings and close to busy urban areas, and the birds and their offspring thrive,” said Benning DeLaMater, a public information officer for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The question came up during the train station selection effort, but developers and state officials are confident the peregrines and a restored Central Terminal can co-exist in peace, said Mark Lewandowski, the president and CEO of the Central Terminal Restoration Corp.

“It’s not an issue,” Lewandowski said. “That was brought up before. That was a consideration.”

He added: “It wouldn’t hold up development whatsoever.”

Falcon chicks and their parents hang out in their nest and fly around on the 10th floor at Buffalo's Central Terminal in 2013. (James P. McCoy/News file photo)

The Peregrine Place organization monitors the birds’ local nesting spots.

"I don't foresee any issues," said Carl Skompinski, a local leader with the organization.

The Central Terminal Restoration Corp. and the DEC collaborate well on protecting the peregrines.

"As long as work is coordinated with the DEC and adheres to federal and state laws and is down after and before nest time, there should be no problem," he said.

Skompinski pointed to precedent for doing restoration work on buildings occupied by peregrine falcon nesting boxes: the Richardson Complex and the University at Buffalo.

"UB is a good recent example. The box was removed after nesting season and work performed on the chimney," he said. "Richardson is another example. The peregrines tend to hang around even when the boxes are removed."

DeLaMater confirmed renovations and development occurred at several peregrine falcon nest box sites in Buffalo and statewide.

"DEC staff will be available for technical assistance should any conflicts arise," DeLaMater said.

Skompinski said Peregrine Place took no position on the siting of a new train station.

"We are grateful for the owners who allow nest boxes on their property," he said.

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