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See Salt Lake's peregrine falcons

Young falcons are almost ready to fly

SALT LAKE CITY — You can see and learn more about the peregrine falcons in downtown Salt Lake City during a free field trip.

In this photo taken in June 2012, the three falcons born that summer are shown in the nest box the day before they made their first flight.

In this photo taken in June 2012, the three falcons born that summer are shown in the nest box the day before they made their first flight.

Photo by Crystal Ross

The field trip will happen June 17 on Temple Square. It starts at 6 p.m. Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, will lead the trip.

To participate, meet just east of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (JSMB) on Temple Square.

Walters says Salt Lake City's famous falcon pair deposited four eggs this spring in a nest box on the northeast side of the JSMB. Three of the eggs hatched.

If you attend the field trip on June 17, you should see the adult peregrines perched on the edge of the nest box or on the side of the JSMB. You might also see them fly to and from the box.

Walters says the recently hatched falcons aren't quite ready to fly yet. He thinks the young falcons will start flying about a week after the viewing event.

Join the rescue team

When the falcons take those harrowing first flights, Walters and a team of volunteers will be on hand to rescue them. "You never know where young falcons will end up," Walters says. "We've had them land in the middle of the busy downtown streets and crash into the sides of buildings.

"But wherever the birds land, we'll be there to pick them up."

If the birds aren't harmed, Walters will release them below the beehive atop the JSMB. "The idea is to rescue and release each young bird until the birds develop the confidence and competence needed to sustain themselves in flight," he says.

Walters says learning to fly in a downtown environment, filled with glass, metal, rock and brick surfaces, is a major challenge for young falcons.

On the same evening the field trip is held, Walters will train anyone who wants to become a member of his volunteer Peregrine Falcon Watchpost/Rescue Team.

"We need your help," he says.

For more information about the field trip or the training, call Walters at 801-209-5326.

The June 17 field trip is part of the DWR's year-round Watchable Wildlife program.

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