Photo by Mary Mumbrue

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Mary Hennen, Director of the Chicago Peregrine Program and Josh Engle, an ornithologist, made their annual visit to the Evanston Public Library on May 27 to band the baby falcons for identification purposes and also determine their gender. Both are on the staff of Chicago’s Field Museum. Many residents gathered on the third floor to observe this annual occurrence.

Three chicks hatched from the five eggs that had been laid. The scientists put on helmets and Ms. Hennen wore a harness as she climbed up to the nest to retrieve the three baby falcons, called eyases. They were carefully removed from their nest, brought indoors for banding, blood sampling and viewing, then returned to the nest. According the EPL website, “…while some bird species are sensitive to human disturbance at the nest, Peregrine falcons are able to handle it.” Nona and Squawker, the parents, were not happy while this was happening and looked down menacingly and squawked very loudly from their outside perch.

Karen Danczak Lyons, Director of the Evanston Public Library, announced the winners of the naming contest.

Foley: named after James Foley, Evanston-born journalist, first American killed by ISIS in 2014. “A memorial for a native son and to honor a free press that will soar high,” chosen by Michael Kormanik.

Stardust: in memory of David Bowie, chosen by James Sullivan.

Juliet: In honor of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, chosen by Connie Wood.

In mid-June, the babies will take flight. Peregrine falcons can reach speeds of 200 mph, making them the fastest creatures on earth.

According to the Evanston Public Library’s information, this is the 13th year that a pair of peregrines nested at the Evanston Public Library. This is the 12th year for Nona (mother) and the 11th for Squawker (father). Over the years, 40 Peregrine falcons have come from the library.