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Peregrine falcon chicks removed from Downtown Pittsburgh building

Mary Ann Thomas
| Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 1:45 p.m.
One of the peregrine falcon chicks removed from a Downtown Pittsburgh building is getting an exam at its new home on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.
Humane Animal Rescue in Verona
One of the peregrine falcon chicks removed from a Downtown Pittsburgh building is getting an exam at its new home on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.
These young peregrine falcon chicks were relocated from their Downtown Pittsburgh nest by the Pennsylvania Game Commission on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.
Pennsylvania Game Commission
These young peregrine falcon chicks were relocated from their Downtown Pittsburgh nest by the Pennsylvania Game Commission on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.
One of the parents of the four young peregrine chicks is pictured in Downtown Pittsburgh on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.
Pennsylvania Game Commission
One of the parents of the four young peregrine chicks is pictured in Downtown Pittsburgh on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.

Pennsylvania Game Commission officials removed four peregrine falcon chicks from their nest on a Downtown Pittsburgh building Tuesday morning in response to concerns from a developer renovating a neighboring building.

The falcon chicks, several weeks old and too young to fly, were taken to Humane Animal Rescue in Verona and were in good health after the move, according to the rescue facility's director, Jill Argall.

“We're worried about their stress levels today, and we're going to take it slow,” Argall said.

The facility will keep the birds warm, feed them and give them space to fly. It also will treat them for parasites.

“We're going to mimic what nature does for six weeks or so,” Argall said.

Humane Animal Rescue will work with the Game Commission to decide where and when to release the birds into the wild.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last month approved a request made by Horsham-based developer BT Pitt-Third LLC to remove the chicks from their nest.

BT Pitt-Third halted its renovation project at 319 Third Ave. two to three weeks ago after the chicks' parents swooped past workers and the company learned about the nest of state-endangered raptors next door, said BT Pitt-Third spokesman Kevin Feeley.

Feeley said the company made the decision “out of concern for the safety of the falcons.”

Supporters of the falcons had asked the developer to wait another month so the young birds could grow up and naturally leave their nest.

BT Pitt-Third said it was on a tight deadline to complete the building renovations by August to accommodate 100 college students slated to live in apartments there.

Kate St. John, head monitor of the nesting peregrines in Pittsburgh and author of the blog Outside My Window, said, “I wish it were different, but it is their decision.”

Although the four chicks are gone, the adults are expected to stay in their Downtown territory.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4691, mthomas@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.

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