Urban falcon banded at Gold Coast building

June 11, 2012 (CHICAGO)

It's being raised in a nest on top of a senior living facility in the city.

Mary Hennon from the Field Museum was able to retrieve a rare peregrine falcon hatchling from a nest at the top of the 53rd-story ledge located at The Clare, a Chicago senior living community.

Hennon brought it inside for banding. Under the curious observation of dozens of senior citizen residents, she covered the beak to calm it before tagging it and drawing blood for genetic testing.

"The age is around 32-35 days old," Hennon said. "In another week and a half, it will take its first flight and land on the ground where we put her."

"To think one was nesting and it was found hatching there," said Clare resident Betty Bergstrom.

"I never saw a falcon banded before," said Clare resident Michael Horowitz.

Residents named the peregrine Clare. Her parents flew outside the building concerned.

"The freed birds are still out there. I miss them," said Clare resident Henrriette Krestske.

"We watch if they fledge successfully, and hopefully down the line we can confirm if this bird is breeding somewhere else," Hennon said.

Clare was immediately returned to the nest and to her parents after she was banded.

"I thought it was very exciting," said Clare resident Elizabeth Grady.

"To have an opportunity like this is a rare occasion. They just loved it," said Michel Desjardins, executive director, The Clare at Water Tower.

"We have about 27 peregrines in the state of Illinois," Hennon said. "The majority are around the Chicago area with 18 confirmed as breeding birds.

Hennon added that there are close to 60 peregrine falcons nesting in 27 territories.

Clare staff say they will be setting up a web camera so they can monitor the falcon along with the museum staff.

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