Watch live Wednesday: Peregrine Falcon banding

It should be a warm and fuzzy event – literally – as a state biologist bands peregrine falcon chicks Wednesday live on Facebook.

The chicks, known as eyasses, are still covered in soft, white down.  They hatched in a nest in April at the top of the Rachel Carson office building in Harrisburg.  Their down will be replaced with feathers.  So the goal is to band them before they are able to take flight.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection already has a popular live cam of the nest where viewers can see the chicks huddle and eat.  But this will be the first time the DEP will air the banding live through its Facebook page.  Viewers can also post questions and follow on Twitter.

Below: Feeding time

Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell is scheduled to host at 11 a.m. when Art McMorris, peregrine falcon coordinator for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, will band the three nestling chicks around their legs as part of a tracking effort.  Students from nearby St. Stephen’s Episcopal School will be on hand to observe and ask questions.

The population of native eastern peregrine falcons was wiped out by the 1960s, mostly through widespread use of the pesticide DDT.  Falcons were reintroduced to the state and have fared well.

To attract the birds of prey, state officials installed a nesting ledge atop the Rachel Carson building in 1996, according to Deb Klenotic, a DEP spokesperson.  Male and female pairs, which mate for life, have made nests there most years, except for a few year gap.  However, they have nested the last 17 straight years.  In all, 61 falcons have hatched and been banded.  They’ve been found in other parts of the state, as well as Ohio.

The event will also be livestreamed on the PA Falcon Cam.