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Peregrine Falcon Banding Event was held May 9

Posted: May 15, 2012

The Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Game Commission today invited students across the state to watch the annual Peregrine falcon banding event during a live webcast on Wednesday, May 9. The event was held from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Rachel Carson State Office Building auditorium in Harrisburg.
Falcon Banding

Falcon Banding

Biologists retrieved the young falcons, called eyases, from their nest, weighed them and placed a metal band with a falcon-specific code around each bird's left leg. The band code will be used by wildlife officials and bird enthusiasts to monitor the birds after they leave the nest. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service band will be placed on the eyases' right leg, registering each on a federal banding database.

Classrooms across Pennsylvania were encouraged to watch the banding via DEP's website. Viewers learned how biologists use alphanumeric bands to study Peregrine falcons as they migrate, pair with other Peregrines and set up breeding territories. They also heard details about the wildlife-management techniques used to reintroduce and monitor endangered species.

Since 1997, countless Peregrine falcons have made their home on a ledge off the 15th floor of the Rachel Carson State Office Building. Peregrine falcons, which are an endangered species in Pennsylvania, were extremely rare in the state for many years. Through reintroduction programs, they have adapted to life in urban environments like Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Williamsport. Each year, DEP and the Game Commission track the birds' activities and share educational information through, among other things, the popular online Falcon Cam.

The Rachel Carson Building nest site has been active and reproducing young Peregrine falcons for the past 12 years. This year, the female laid a clutch of four eggs, two of which hatched.

Results:

This year we have two male eyases - one weighs 560g, the other 590g. They're both in good health. The banding event seems to awaken the eyases to the fact that they can get out of the scrape and explore the nest ledge. This is critical to their physical development. They will begin building the strength and agility that will be necessary for them to attempt their first flight, which should happen in a few short weeks.

Fans can also follow the falcons through Twitter.

Watch a live feed of the falcon nest.