Pennsylvania DEP’s Live Webcast of Peregrine Falcon Banding Set for May 21

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Pennsylvania Game Commission yesterday invited students, teachers, and non-formal educators to tune in for the annual Peregrine falcon banding event during a live webcast on Thursday, May 21.

The banding will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Rachel Carson State Office Building auditorium in Harrisburg, Dauphin County.

“This annual event gives students a unique glimpse into wildlife management and conservation,” Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley said. “Teaching kids about the peregrine falcons sends an important message about habitat preservation and environmental stewardship.”

Teachers, non-formal educators, and students are invited to attend the banding event in-person, but anyone can view the live stream of the banding on DEP’s website.

During the one-hour session, biologists will retrieve the newly-hatched nestlings, called eyases, from their nest, weigh them and place a metal band with a falcon-specific code around each bird’s left leg. Wildlife officials and bird enthusiasts will use the band code 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.

Viewers and guests will learn how biologists use alphanumeric bands to study peregrine falcons as they migrate, pair with other peregrines and set up breeding territories. They also will hear details about the wildlife-management techniques used to reintroduce and monitor endangered species.

Since 1997, countless peregrine falcons have been born on a ledge off the 15th floor of the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg. Peregrine falcons, which remain 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 State Office Building nest site has been active and reproducing peregrine falcons for the past 16 years. This year, the female laid a clutch of four eggs. The eggs should begin to hatch around April 22, which coincidentally, is Earth Day.

To register for peregrine falcon banding event, mid-state educators should contact DEP’s Environmental Education and Information Center at 717-772-1644 or adev[email protected] by May 5. Space is limited, so registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis with priority given to educators and students who have not previously attended the event or have attended a Peregrine Falcon Educator’s Workshop.

To view the live banding event, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click on the Falcon Cam button.

Fans can also follow the falcons through Twitter at https://twitter.com/FalconChatter.


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