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2 peregrine falcon chicks in Pitt Cathedral of Learning nest get banded

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Two peregrine falcon chicks who hatched in the nest at Pitt's Cathedral of Learning were banded Tuesday, which will help scientists studying the species. 

Thousands of viewers have watched the birds hatch and grow through the National Aviary's Peregrine FalconCam. There were four eggs in the nest this year, but one of the chicks died and the final egg failed to hatch. But the two remaining chicks are growing up fast.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission on Tuesday put small lightweight bands marked with identifying numbers on the chicks' legs. The numbers on the bands will help scientists study the behavior of peregrine falcons while also keeping an eye on the status of their population.

Carla and Ecco’s two Peregrine Falcon chicks were banded at the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning today....

Posted by National Aviary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Peregrine falcons used to be endangered in Pennsylvania because of the use of the pesticide DDT. They were removed from the state's threatened and endangered species list in 2021, the Game Commission says. 

"As the state's wildlife agency, the Game Commission, joined by several like-minded partners, was heavily involved in this national recovery effort. Banding young falcons is the only way to tell one from another and it enables us to track individual birds while monitoring population trends," Pennsylvania Game Commission endangered bird biologist Patricia Barber said in a press release.

Barber says livestreams like the FalconCam help engage the public and let them learn more about the birds. The FalconCam streams the two young falcons, as well as their parents, Carla and Ecco. 

Carla is new to the nest this year after the previous female Morela ended last season without any eggs and disappeared around May. Carla laid claim to the nest box and Ecco shortly after that, the aviary says.

Viewers can continue watching the family on the FalconCam. The aviary says they could try their first attempt at fledging the nest as early as June. 

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