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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The two peregrine falcon chicks at the Cathedral of Learning had some visitors Friday, and it wasn’t their mom and dad bringing them dinner.
The peregrine falcons weren’t crazy about being plucked from their nest on the 40th floor of Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning. They only hatched about three and a half weeks ago.
“They do a health check. We do a blood sample to check for diseases and parasites and just overall check their health,” Dan Brauning, with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said. “By appearance, they seem to be healthy, but we can do some deeper analysis.”
This is a joint effort between the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the National Aviary on the North Side and the University of Pittsburgh.
“We place unique identification bands, silver and colored bands, established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” Brauning said.
One of the most dangerous parts is climbing out to the nest to retrieve the chicks. They actually take a broom to keep the father’s sharp beak and talons far away.
“Males and females are a different size, of course, and the best way for us to determine that is by weight,” Brauning said.
While the falcons are no longer on the federal endangered list, the population has not completely bounced back in Pennsylvania. That’s why the success of eight nesting pairs in Pittsburgh is so exciting and these exams so critical.
“These chicks are very healthy. The parents are very protective of the young, and that bodes well,” Brauning said. “There is lots of evidence that they have been eating well.”