It’s time to celebrate! The peregrine falcons nesting on top of PPL’s Tower Building at Ninth and Hamilton streets in downtown Allentown are becoming parents.
The eggs in a nesting box on the 21st floor began hatching Sunday, May 13 – Mother’s Day.
In about three weeks, the Pennsylvania Game Commission will band the young birds to track and study them. Stay tuned for more information, pictures and video about that process.
Aside from watching the growing family on our live stream video at www.pplelectric.com/environment, we thought we’d offer up some peregrine facts to help make you smarter than the average bird.
- Baby peregrines are called eyasses and weigh about 1.5 ounces when they are born.
- They eat a lot of food, doubling their weight in only six days. At three weeks, they are ten times their birth size.
- They can live up to 15 years.
- Peregrines primarily eat other birds, including common birds like pigeons and songbirds like jays and thrushes. They also eat bats.
- They’re primarily monogamous, though there are some exceptions when one mate dies or is replaced by a stronger individual.
- The peregrine falcon is a crow-sized bird, weighing just over two pounds with a wing span of approximately 3 feet. Female peregrines can be up to a third larger than males.
- Peregrine falcons are aerial predators, capturing their prey in mid-air. Peregrine falcons often hunt in tandem, alternately diving on their prey until it is caught.
- The use of the pesticide DDT decimated peregrine populations in the middle of the 20th century, but the population has rebounded thanks to conservation efforts.
- Eyasses usually start to fly in about 42 days. After fledging, they are still dependent on their parents for food until they learn to hunt, which takes about a month and a half.
- Peregrine falcons are found on every continent except Antarctica.
Sources: Raptor Resource Project, Cornell University, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service