Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Falcon Chick Weak, but Has a Chance to Survive

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Falcon Chick Weak, but Has a Chance to Survive

Article excerpt

The lone peregrine falcon chick to hatch this spring in the 40th- floor nest on the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning did not pass its physical with flying colors this morning.

But while a veterinarian and a Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife biologist judged the 19-day-old bird weak, developmentally slow and lousy with lice, mites and blood-sucking flies, they found no structural deformities and determined it has a reasonable chance to survive in the wild.

Given that prognosis, F. Arthur McMorris, the game commission's peregrine coordinator, attached identification bands to the male bird's legs and returned it to its nest as its 16-year-old mother, Dorothy, ancient by falcon standards, swooped close and squawked loudly.

"We've determined the bird is developing slowly, but we're banding it and putting it back in the nest," Mr. McMorris said. "We're going to continue to keep a close eye on it."

The National Aviary in Pittsburgh has a live video camera focused on the nest, and regular observers have seen and noted a series of developmental issues displayed by the chick, including difficulties sitting up, turning over when lying on its back, and splayed legs. …

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