And now for a cuteness break ... with pretty peregrines

On May 14, the two 22-day-old peregrine chicks were removed from the nesting ledge on the 40th floor of the Cathedral of Learning for a full exam by Pennsylvania Game Commission representatives. They also received U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service leg bands. 

Peregrine falcons were classified as an endangered species in Pennsylvania until last fall when they were upgraded to “threatened” in response to their growing population.  There are currently eight nesting pairs in the Pittsburgh region, all of them residing on manmade structures.

Peregrines typically live 12 to 15 years in the wild. Females will characteristically lay three to five eggs each year.

The peregrine parents, named Hope and Terzo, have been nesting at the Cathedral for the past four years. Hope laid five eggs this year and ate the contents of two of the eggs as they were hatching. The fifth egg did not hatch, which is not unusual. Both parents are caring for the remaining two chicks. Hope has eaten one or more of her hatching eggs in each of the previous years.

The chicks were placed back on the nesting ledge, where you can seem them on the National Aviary real-time Nest Cam.