Mary Hennen, of the Field Museum, holds falcon chick at downtown Evanston library.

You could say it was a chick flick.

Only in this case, the chick was a boy.

A 26-day-old peregrine falcon chick was gently removed from its nest, on a pillar and ledge in front of the downtown library on Church Street, and brought inside for more than 100 people to discover on Friday morning.

Evanston has the only library in the country with a falcon program, according to the appropriately named Betsy Bird (married name, she pointed out), an official with the library.

The falcon chick squaked and tried to flap its wings as identifying bands were placed on its legs, and as a blood sample was taken.

The blood sample is to check for diseases. The band is for tracing where the bird may end up once it leaves the proverbial nest (Don’t we all?).

Peregrines have a lifespan of about ten years.

One falcon named “Santo,” in honor of the Chicago Cubs legend, was found in Ecuador, in South America, according to Mary Hennen, director of the falcon program at the Field Museum.

“Santo” came out of different nest, in Chicago. Most falcons stay a lot closer to home than Ecuador, and may occupy the same nest for several years.

It was just coincidence that the Evanston library ended up as falcon crest.

Betsy Bird said “it was the luck of the draw. We didn’t realize we had the perfect peregrine falcon home” when the first pair of birds built a nest in the sheltered area on a ledge atop the pillar more than 17 years ago.

Since then, falcons have come and gone.

Three eggs were laid by the female in the current falcon couple, but only one of the eggs hatched. About 20 chicks have been born since falcons started nesting at the library.

And speaking of the library, the new chick was given the name “Bibli,” the result of a naming contest.

While that might not make much sense, it does when you learn that the momma bird was given the name “Teca” on Friday morning as well. (That bird had already been banded, but was unnamed).

Put the baby and the mom’s name together, insert an “o,” and you get “biblioteca,” library in Spanish.

Evanstonian Karen Frederick won the naming contest for both of the birds.

“I started gettng very weepy,” Frederick said, when the library announced that her names will be used.

“I was very honored.”

The mother and father falcon flew around the area after the chick was removed from the nest. The little falcon was returned to its home after the branding and naming.

This was also a “gender reveal” party. Museum falcon program chief Hennen said that among birds of prey, the female is actually larger. This chick was small, so the little guy actually deemed to be a little guy.

But what about the big guy, the daddy bird?

His name is Coach Kevin. No one seemed to know exactly how that name came about.

Maybe he once worked for the Atlanta Falcons.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Join the Conversation


  1. I work on the third floor of the library and we saw this, it was fun to see…!!!

    Falcons are beautiful creatures, it’s a real treat to have this here in Evanston…

    Gregory Morrow – 4th Ward resident

  2. Just more evidence that Evanston is the best town in America! 😎

    We have FALCONS!!!

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