For ten years, a breeding pair of peregrine falcons lives in a man-made nest on the 37th floor of Pittsburgh's Gulf Tower. The are monitored by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and other conservation organizations. This nest is disturbed only once a year, when the birds are checked and banded.
The peregrine falcon was removed from the Federal endangered species list in 1999, but it remains on the Pennsylvania state list.
We were fortunate to be invited to observe the banding on May 3 this year. We were fascinated by the combination of fuzzy-chick cuteness and no-fooling beaks and talons. If you look closely, you can distinguish different chicks by the amount of feather development.
More pix, from the 2002 banding
I am not happy about this indignity! I eat birds -- are you a bird?
Maybe if I lie still they'll let me alone
New jewelry! But it doesn't disguise my claws!
Is that black thing good to eat?
I see you, too
Weigh-in -- aaaaarrrrkk! the scale is cold
The checkup and banding involved people from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Animal Rescue League, the National Aviary, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and I've probably forgotten a few.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has a webcam on the nest. Here are the chicks 8 days later, with much more fully developed feathers. The webcam doesn't seem to be operating at the moment, or there would be a link here. There's not much to see at the moment, though.
and, from the webcam,
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