The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0012; fax (319) 384-0012

Release: June 18, 1999

Raptor Project to band peregrine falcon chicks

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The Macbride Raptor Project will be banding three 25-day-old peregrine falcon chicks nested atop the Firstar Bank, 222 Second Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids on Monday, June 21 at 1:30 p.m.

The three falcons will be taken from their nesting box atop the bank to the bank's conference room on the second floor, according to Jodeanne Cancilla, project coordinator of the Macbride Raptor Project, co-sponsored by the University of Iowa and Kirkwood Community College. A lavender band will be placed on one leg of each bird, and this will show that it is has been identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A red and black band will be placed on the other leg of each bird to identify it as a raptor from the Cedar Rapids area.

Blood samples will also be drawn at this time. The samples will be filed, and if another decline in peregrine falcon population occurs in Iowa, more falcons with a similar genetic code can be brought into the state. The samples, along with future blood tests, will monitor the levels of pesticide in the birds' blood.

This wild nest is from one of only two nesting pairs of peregrines in Iowa. Peregrines mate for life, and this pair has nested on top of Firstar Bank since 1993. They have raised 18 young, including these three hatchlings, and fostered one.

The three young falcons are part of a peregrine restoration project that began in 1989 by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Until 1992, 50 peregrines were released in Iowa, and through 1995, 756 were released in the Midwest.

Peregrine falcons, a state- and federally-endangered species, are crow-sized birds, averaging 13 to 16 inches long from beak to tail. Prior to 1960, there were more than 350 nests in the eastern United States. By 1975 only 39 pairs remained in the lower 48 states. DDT pesticides were the main cause of decline.

Some 60 percent of peregrines die during the first year, after which they have an 80 percent chance of surviving subsequent years. The oldest known peregrine in the Midwest was 10 years old.

Founded in 1985, Macbride Raptor Project is devoted to preserving Iowa's birds of prey and their natural habitats. The project achieves its goals through the rehabilitation of sick and injured birds, educational programs for the public and field research of Iowa's native raptors.

For more information, call Cancilla at (319) 398-5495.