HARRISBURG The Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Game Commission invites students across the state to watch the annual Peregrine falcon banding event during a live webcast on Wednesday, May 9.
The event will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Rachel Carson State Office Building auditorium in Harrisburg.
Biologists will retrieve the young falcons, called eyases, from their nest, weigh them and place a metal band with a falcon-specific code around each bird's left leg. The band code will be used by wildlife officials and bird enthusiasts to monitor the birds after they leave the nest. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service band will be placed on the eyases' right leg, registering each on a federal banding database.
Classrooms across Pennsylvania are encouraged to watch the banding via DEP's website. Viewers will learn how biologists use alphanumeric bands to study Peregrine falcons as they migrate, pair with other Peregrines and set up breeding territories. They will also hear details about the wildlife-management techniques used to reintroduce and monitor endangered species.
Since 1997, countless Peregrine falcons have made their home on a ledge off the 15th floor of the Rachel Carson State Office Building. Peregrine falcons, which are an endangered species in Pennsylvania, were extremely rare in the state for many years. Through reintroduction programs, they have adapted to life in urban environments like Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Williamsport. Each year, DEP and the Game Commission track the birds' activities and share educational information through, among other things, the popular online Falcon Cam.
The Rachel Carson Building nest site has been active and reproducing young Peregrine falcons for the past 12 years. This year, the female laid a clutch of four eggs, two of which hatched.
The banding event can be viewed live by visiting DEP's website at www.dep.state.pa.us and clicking on the PA Falcon Cam button. Fans can also follow the falcons through Twitter at www.twitter.com/FalconChatter.