As “historic preservation tactics” go, this is a doozy! But when endangered peregrine falcons chose the UPTOWN Theatre to build a nest, they brought another layer or “protection” to the embattled theater. What a concept! The Lesson Learned here is to leave no stone unturned in the battle to keep the demolition squad at bay. And, as any “Friends” group knows, it is a lot less dangerous than making a human chain in front of the bulldozer.
Two chicks hatched upon the UPTOWN
***Our protected peregrine falcons***
The local scientists who monitor the nesting peregrine falcons, a federally protected bird of prey, at the UPTOWN reported this week that veteran mother Zoom and the younger father GG have a brood of two this year.
The Chicago Peregrine Program banding crew consisted of Mary Hennen (Field Museum), Matt Gies (Shedd Aquarium) and John Pauley (Brookfield Zoo.) What the Chicago Peregrine Program does is monitor the peregrines within the state of Illinois, which includes banding the birds with small ID braceletsvwhenever possible. The bands are unique to the individual so they are able to potentially look at things like longevity, travel and nesting. While they have the birds in hand, blood is drawn for genetics research.
Peregrine falcons have come back in numbers but were at one time endangered due to pesticides and a loss of territory. These good hunters chose the walls of the UPTOWN and the adjacent greenspace of St. Boniface Cemetery and the lakefront, which substitute for the cliffs and wilds for which they are genetically programmed. More than anything, they like it when humans leave them alone. Note that peregrine falcons can deliver a blow from their breastbones in a dive for a kill at speeds ranging from 60 to 200 mph.
We like the falcons for their aerial acrobatics, their prolific parenting and their ability to keep the numbers of pigeons and other pests in check. They are truly wonderful creatures that go well with UPTOWN’s themes of strength, permanence and nobility.
Mary reported this week that there are two male chicks in the well-proteced nest about 25 to 28 days old. One was named Lord Stanley in honor of the Blackhawks’ goal and the other Rudy after the late vaudevillian Rudy Horn who lived in Uptown and recalled the theatre’s colorful past. On our Facebook page is a photo Mary took from before the banding. You can see an adult on the railing but also one of the chicks at the front of the nesting box.
We recall that one year the chicks fledged (flew for the first time) on July 4, Independence Day. This year might be a little earlier.
More UPTOWN peregrine pics from years past: