Typically, the reference section of the Evanston Public Library is quiet enough to hear a pin drop. But on June 12, there was quite a bazaar with nearly 60 people huddled in a small section behind the shelves.
At 10:30 it was time to band the four newborn peregrine falcons. Climbing the ladder to reach for the nest and retrieve the babies of Faye and Squawker was Mary Hennen, Director of the Chicago Peregrine Program and Bird Division scientist at the Field Museum.
With the help of fellow Field Museum ornithologist Josh Engel, she determined the sex, attached identification bands on both legs, and drew blood for genetic testing. In all, there were three boys, named Tango, Lightning Bolt and Ford; and one girl, named Karen.
Evanston Public Library Director, Karen Danczak Lyons who is the namesake of the baby falcon, takes great pride in the program which, she says, is the only nesting site in Illinois that has made it a public program.
“It was important to show the beauty and power of the bird, and to show children, especially girls, that they can be scientists,” she said.
She also said that she hopes that it encourages kids to read more. Ms. Lyons says she assumes there is a spike in falcon and bird books being checked out of the library this week.
A nearby cart had a collection of children’s books of falcons and the books were taken off the shelf and were in the hands of parents and kids. One parent commented that she has read one particular book with her two kids at least six times.
The falcon program has been part of the community and some of the older adults present said they were like kids on Christmas morning. Mom of two children Lise Jinno says that she loves the program and what it has done to the community because “it expands beyond the traditional library services.”