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Smith Center attraction soars outside instead of on stage

Reported by: Denise Rosch
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Updated: 2/06/2013 5:18 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, a facility that's already left its mark on Las Vegas entertainment, is set to celebrate its first year in operation next month.

But now, a new attraction has taken up residency: a peregrine falcon, claiming the center's 170-foot bell tower as its own.

Groundskeeper Jay Dettre first spotted the bird a few months ago perched overlooking Symphony Park, using the tower -- it would seem -- as a downtown base camp.

“We've gone up a couple times to check it out and clean up, and there's no actual nest,” Dettre said. “We're waiting for spring though because she has a male boyfriend. She has a little boyfriend. I say little because he's definitely smaller and skinnier than she is.

Dave Kanellis is co-owner of Airborne Raptors Unlimited, a local organization that helps educate the public about birds of prey. He says peregrines are more common in Las Vegas than most people think.

“They use these big casinos as what cliff faces would have been before we were here,” he said. “A nice high area to sit and actually scour the landscape for their favorite thing: pigeon.”

So now that the bird is here, many are asking, what's her name?

On the Smith Center Facebook page, many fans have started to chime in. Suggestions range from Smitty to Belle to Quasimode, in honor of the keeper of another famous bell tower.

As for Dettre, he's hoping the falcon will have a lifetime engagement, wowing audiences who expect great things at The Smith Center.

Peregrine falcons pose no danger to humans, and employees say the bird doesn't seem bothered by the hourly chiming of the bells.


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