Four peregrine falcon chicks hatched in a nest atop the Evanston Public Library were brought into the library, banded and named this morning.
Mary Hennen, director of the Chicago Peregrine program, and Josh Engel, ornithologist at the Field Museum of Natural History, donned helmets and padded jackets and carefully climbed a ladder to put all four chicks into a cardboard box and bring them down into the library.
Children and adults watch as scientists climb ladder to fetch falcon chicks from their nest.
Several dozen children and adults watched as each 21-day-old chick was banded on each leg. A blood sample was taken for genetic testing and the birds were named.
Falcon parents Fay and Squawker had one female chick, named Karen after library director Karen Danczak Lyons and three male chicks, named Tango, Lightning Bolt and Ford Falcon.
Female peregrine falcons are larger than males and gender determination is based on the size of the leg.
A parent watches anxiously from outside as the chicks are handled.
The falcons nesting at the library are the only pair in Evanston. This is Fay’s second year as a mother, while Squawker is an experienced dad.
The chicks will take flight in mid-June. Falcons capture their prey in mid-flight and mostly eat birds, helping to keep the pigeon population at bay in Evanston.