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Valley News Dispatch

Displaced Pittsburgh peregrine falcons settling in at Verona shelter

Mary Ann Thomas
| Monday, May 14, 2018, 6:33 p.m.
Four peregrine falcon chicks are doing well according to officials at the Humane Animal Rescue in Verona. The birds were taken from their parents in downtown Pittsburgh because they were too close to a building renovation project.
Four peregrine falcon chicks are doing well according to officials at the Humane Animal Rescue in Verona. The birds were taken from their parents in downtown Pittsburgh because they were too close to a building renovation project.

After they were whisked away from their parents and aerie at a Pittsburgh building, the four peregrine falcon chicks are settling into the Humane Animal Rescue in Verona.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission removed the birds last week after a Horsham-based developer BT Pitt-Third LLC secured federal permits to remove the state-endangered birds.

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

Now that the young falcons are gone, work has resumed on the apartment building, according to Kate St. John in her blog, “Outside My Window.”

So not to habituate the birds to humans, the HAR staff wear a ghillie suit, which obscures the human shape. They also use a hand puppet resembling an adult peregrine to feed to the chicks.

Each of the birds, about several weeks old, has been gaining weight and accepts the puppet as their caregiver, according to HAR.

Hand puppets also were used by the Pennsylvania Game Commission years ago to rear young bald eagle chicks to re-introduce them in the state.

The plans are to raise the chicks and eventually release them in the wild.

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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