Yesterday one male and two female peregrine chicks were banded at the Cathedral of Learning. All three are in good health and very vocal. They were so loud they were nearly deafening!
Here's their story in pictures.
Before the chicks were retrieved, Tammy Colt of the Pennsylvania Game Commission laid out the bands, one set for males' small legs, the other set for females' larger legs. The silver bands are unique 9-digit US Fish and Wildlife bands which cannot be read from afar. The black/green bands can be read through binoculars or in photos.
Wildlife Diversity Chief Dan Brauning shows how the silver bands interlock.
Meanwhile the mother peregrine, Hope, knows something is going to happen. She guards and waits for the action to begin.
As Dan and Tammy approach the nest, Hope shouts to defend her chicks.
From Schenley Plaza, Kim Getz saw Hope and Terzo strafe the area and dive on the banders.
Each chick was collected in a drawstring bag. The chick is weighed while in the bag to determine its sex. Even at this age males weigh 1/3 less than females.
The male chick, C6, waits and watches before his bands are applied. He was silent at this point, but not for long.
As his black/green band is applied, C6 grabs the bander's thumb with his talons. Ouch!
The first female chick, C7, was loud from the start!
The second female chick, C8, was temporarily quiet. Notice how large her toes are!
In less than half an hour the banding was done. Dan returned the chicks to the nest.
And Hope checked on her nestlings.
All's well that ends well.
(photos by Kate St. John, Kim Getz and the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)