DEP Invites Teachers and Students to Join or Watch Peregrine Falcon Banding Event on May 17

HARRISBURG – The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Pennsylvania Game Commission will conduct the annual peregrine falcon banding event from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17 in the auditorium of the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg.

DEP invites teachers, non-formal educators and students to attend the event, where biologists will weigh and band the newly-hatched nestlings, called eyases.  The event will also be streamed live on DEP’s Web site.

On May 17, biologists will retrieve the young peregrines from the nest located on the 15th Floor of the Rachel Carson State Office Building and place a metal band with a falcon-specific code around the left leg of each of the eyases. The band code will be used by wildlife officials and bird enthusiasts to monitor the birds once they leave the nest.

In addition, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife band will be placed on the eyases’ right leg, registering each on a federal banding database.

This event offers a unique opportunity to witness wildlife management techniques used to reintroduce and monitor endangered species.

Since 1997, a pair of peregrine falcons has made their home on the 15th Floor of the Rachel Carson State Office Building. While their numbers are increasing, peregrine falcons remain an endangered species in Pennsylvania. Through reintroduction programs, peregrines have adapted to life in urban environments like Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Williamsport. Each year, DEP and the Game Commission track the activities of these birds and share their findings on the web.

The Rachel Carson nest site has been active and reproducing young peregrine falcons for the past eleven years. This year, there is a new female in the nest who arrived in September and has laid a clutch of four eggs.

To register for the peregrine falcon banding event, mid-state educators should contact DEP’s Environmental Education and Information Center at 717-772-1644 or by email at adevine@state.pa.us by May 3.

Because space is limited, 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.

The banding event can be viewed live by visiting DEP’s Web site at www.depweb.state.pa.us, and then clicking on the Falcon Cam button. Viewers will be able to see the banding of the eyases and will learn how biologists use alphanumeric bands to study peregrine falcons as they migrate, pair with other peregrines and set up breeding territories.

Fans also can follow the peregrines through Twitter at: www.twitter.com/FalconChatter.

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