University of Calgary

Falcons return to campus

July 2, 2009
Pat Young, a biologist with Fish and Wildlife, bands one of the yound falcons. / Photo: Elli Jilek
Pat Young, a biologist with Fish and Wildlife, bands one of the yound falcons. / Photo: Elli Jilek

Baby peregrines

The return of the peregrine falcons has resulted in three new chicks again this year.

Three baby falcons have hatched at a nest site high on the north side of Craigie Hall. Two of the birds are females weighing in at about 900 grams, with the one male considerably smaller at less than 700 grams.

The birds were weighed and had bands put on their legs for tracking earlier this week by Alberta Fish and Wildlife officials and interested university staff.

The young falcons will require close monitoring in the coming weeks when they mature into fledglings and attempt to step outside the nest, says Elli Jilek, a specialist advisor who works with the U of C’s Libraries and Cultural Resources.

“They do tend to fly into things when they first start trying,” says Jilek who has been following the falcons since 1995 when they were found nesting on campus. Wind conditions, other buildings and the ongoing nearby construction of the new Taylor Family Digital Library could all be significant hazards for the young birds.

“They always seem to have at least one accident.”

Last year, the local peregrines also had three chicks. But because the birds can fly great distances and they’re hard to track, it’s hard to know how the birds fare once they leave the nest for good. The mortality rate for peregrine chicks is between 65-85 per cent during the first year of their lives.

For updated info on the U of C peregrine family go to:
www.ucalgary.ca/~jilek/Peregrine_Falcons/


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