U.S. Steel mill’s for the birds — 3 peregrine falcons hatch

Well, he’s a little lighter reading the for the weekend.

I thought Peregrine Falcons were southern birds (I’ve previously seen, from a fair distance, protected nests while hiking in California), but it seems they have a wide range.

Chicago Sun-Times

Three peregrine falcon chicks have hatched in a nest at the U.S. Steel mill along Lake Michigan.

The chicks were given a health check and tagged last week by a team led by John Castrale, a bird biologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and Mark Happer, the Gary steel mill’s wildlife habitat coordinator.

The chicks were hatched in the middle of May, according to the wildlife biologists.

U.S. Steel put up three nesting boxes in the early 1990s, Happer said. Since then, 36 falcons have hatched there.

Checking this out some more, I found the Canadian Peregrine Falcon Foundation which includes a lot of background information about the birds, and webcams that take pictures of the birds in their nests and refresh them on the web site every few minutes.

I was both right and wrong in remembering them being mostly found in the south … from the 55 Water Street site:

The decline of the Peregrine began after several years of widespread applications of organo-chlorine pesticides (DDT) following WWII. DDT residues causing eggshell thinning altered the reproductive behavior of the falcons and resulted in death. By the early 1960’s there were no breeding pairs left in the eastern U.S. down from an estimated 450 pairs. They were placed on both the Federal and State Endangered Species Lists in the early 1970’s. Intensive endangered species ordinances were put into place and the species has remarkably recovered. There are 15 territorial pairs of which 13 bred successfully in 2001 in New York City on bridges and buildings. The falcons are drawn to the city by the cliff-like topography of high-rise buildings and by the plethora of food (pigeons, sparrows, starlings, etc.).

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