WRITER: MARTI TIEDEMAN
CONTACT: GEORGE MCCRORY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0012; fax (319) 384-0012
Raptor Project to band peregrine falcon chicks
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa The Macbride Raptor Project
will be banding three 25-day-old peregrine falcon chicks nested atop the Firstar
Bank, 222 Second Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids on Monday, June 21 at 1:30 p.m.
The three falcons will be taken from their nesting
box atop the bank to the bank's conference room on the second floor, according
to Jodeanne Cancilla, project coordinator of the Macbride Raptor Project,
co-sponsored by the University of Iowa and Kirkwood Community College. A lavender
band will be placed on one leg of each bird, and this will show that it is
has been identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A red and black
band will be placed on the other leg of each bird to identify it as a raptor
from the Cedar Rapids area.
Blood samples will also be drawn at this time. The
samples will be filed, and if another decline in peregrine falcon population
occurs in Iowa, more falcons with a similar genetic code can be brought into
the state. The samples, along with future blood tests, will monitor the levels
of pesticide in the birds' blood.
This wild nest is from one of only two nesting pairs
of peregrines in Iowa. Peregrines mate for life, and this pair has nested
on top of Firstar Bank since 1993. They have raised 18 young, including these
three hatchlings, and fostered one.
The three young falcons are part of a peregrine restoration
project that began in 1989 by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Until
1992, 50 peregrines were released in Iowa, and through 1995, 756 were released
in the Midwest.
Peregrine falcons, a state- and federally-endangered
species, are crow-sized birds, averaging 13 to 16 inches long from beak to
tail. Prior to 1960, there were more than 350 nests in the eastern United
States. By 1975 only 39 pairs remained in the lower 48 states. DDT pesticides
were the main cause of decline.
Some 60 percent of peregrines die during the first
year, after which they have an 80 percent chance of surviving subsequent years.
The oldest known peregrine in the Midwest was 10 years old.
Founded in 1985, Macbride Raptor Project is devoted
to preserving Iowa's birds of prey and their natural habitats. The project
achieves its goals through the rehabilitation of sick and injured birds, educational
programs for the public and field research of Iowa's native raptors.
For more information, call Cancilla at (319) 398-5495.