Falcon chick may be Rosie’s last

Videography: Joshua Clark/Editing: Anna Dworzecka

It’s been an annual tradition since 1999: the banding of the falcon chicks born to Rosie, UIC’s resident peregrine, high on a ledge of University Hall.

Last week’s banding may be the last one, though.

“Every year it’s a pleasant surprise if she’s here, because of her age and younger birds can outcompete her,” said Field Museum expert Mary Hennen.

Another sign that Rosie’s tenure is coming to a close: this is the first spring that she has hatched only one chick.

Previously it’s been at least two and as many as four.

Matthew Gies, a Shedd Aquarium registrar and the Chicago Peregrine Program volunteer assisting Hennen at the banding, climbed down a wood-and-rope ladder to fetch the fluffy white chick.

As Gies collected the chick from the ledge outside the 28th floor, an unhappy Rosie flew back and forth nearby, screeching most of the time.

Later, indoors, he held the chick’s legs as she lay on her back, face covered with a cloth, while Hennen attached an aluminum band to each leg.

One band is for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It has a long series of numbers, difficult to read at a distance, but the band’s purple color shows that the bird is from the Midwest.

The other band is easier to read with a spotting scope or binoculars. Black over red, it will tell viewers the bird fledged at UIC in 2012 and is a female.

The bands, unique to each bird, help monitor population of the species, which all but disappeared from the Midwest in the 1960s.

Interested bystander Teresa Recchia, assistant to the associate vice chancellor for development, held the chick before it was returned to its ledge.

“It was scary,” Recchia said.

“But the baby is beautiful.”

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