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Gulf Tower Peregrine Falcon Chicks Receive Checkup

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The Gulf Tower in Downtown Pittsburgh is home to a number of businesses and the KDKA-TV Weather Beacon, but that's not all.

A family of peregrine falcons has set up shop there again.

Two peregrine falcons and their five chicks have set up a nest right outside a window on the 37th floor of the Gulf Tower.

"We witnessed when they were hatched and probably the most fascinating part is how fast they grow and how much they eat," Ann Hohn said.

The falcon nest is most visible from Hohn's office at Make-A-Wish.

She's been keeping a close eye on the birds. Today, she got a much better look.

Ignoring very vocal parents, officials with the Pennsylvania Game Commission brought in the chicks that were born about 30 days ago.

Once inside, the birds received a veterinary check.

"One-by-one, they are being examined. Some blood samples are being taken, some measurements are being taken and they are being banded," Bob Mulvihill from the National Aviary said.

The bands were placed on the falcon's legs and allow the birds to be tracked.

"How far do they go? What is the population interaction between Canada, other neighboring states and through that? How do we expect the population to grow? This is an endangered species, state endangered, it had been formerly federally endangered," Dan Brauning with the Game Commission said.

Officials said the banding doesn't hurt the baby birds. Overall, the falcons appeared to be good shape.

"They were feisty and occasionally boisterous. So, they gave every indication of being healthy," Brauning said.

This isn't the first time the falcons have called the Gulf Tower home.

The same adults nested on the ledge a couple of years ago and they returned early this year.

"Birds are indicators of the condition of the environment and we have all these top predators thriving in Pittsburgh. [It] means we have an environment we can be pretty proud of," Mulvihill said.

The chicks will likely stick around the nest for several more weeks.


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