Peregrine Falcons–Banding Day!

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

This morning I joined a few friends, some Game Commission biologists, and a couple of forestry interns,  near the bridge in Williamsport where a pair of Peregrine Falcons have been nesting.   Banding access was provided by the Penn Dot bridge inspection so that the banders would have use of the special bucket and arm which allows them to be lowered under the bridge and to access the nest.

At one time a few decades ago Peregrines were endangered because of the use of DDT.   In the 80’s, extra measures were taken by the Lycoming Audubon Society, local falconers, and the Sportsmen’s clubs to bring in peregrines from other places and to hack them from the top of the Genetti Hotel.  I learned today that the Peregrines which used to nest mainly on cliffs , now often prefer man-made structures such as tall buildings, bridges, and even the towers at power plants where they are not as vulnerable to natural enemies such as Great Horned Owls.  More information on Peregrines can be found at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=621014&mode=2.

Upper arrow shows two chicks on the ledge, about 21 days old.
Upper arrow shows two chicks on the ledge, about 21 days old.  Lower arrow shows an agitated mom or dad Peregrine flying by. The chicks will be able to fly at about 6 weeks.

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Peregrines are at home in the city.  Plenty of pigeons to feast on!

Peregrine Falcon
A Peregrine Falcon can dive at speeds up to 200 mph, making it one of the fastest animals on earth. It has very pointed wings.
Peregrine Falcon
Measures about 16 inches in length with a wing span of about 42 inches. Males are 1/3 smaller than females.
Peregrine
Peregrine Falcon has a heavy black mustache
Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine's mighty talons
Look at those huge feet! All the better to grasp you with, my dear!
Dan Brauning with the lone chick
Dan Brauning with the lone chick at the second nest site.
Peregrine Chick
10-12 day old chick, too young to band.  Usually there are 3 to 4 young.
Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

Lauren Shaffer

Lauren Shaffer wrote 140 posts

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