Three peregrine falcon chicks hatched this spring atop the Rhodes State Office Tower in Columbus are sporting “shiny, new bling,” following a banding ceremony on Tuesday, May 20.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Wildlife staff clipped identifying leg bands on the fluffy, white chicks as enthusiasts across the country and around the world watched via live stream on the Ohio DNR’s FalconCam site.
The 3-week-old chicks — one male and two females — screeched approval of their new jewelry as TV cameras recorded the moment. Meanwhile, their parent falcons circled protectively outside the skyscraper.
Each chick received both a federal identification band from the U.S. Geological Survey and an Ohio name band — appropriately colored scarlet and gray.
Bands for female birds are slightly larger than those for male birds because female peregrines grow bigger, explained Susie Vance, a wildlife division spokesperson.
Named Dart, Blaze and Hoshi (Japanese for Star), the birds are the offspring of peregrines Durand (female) and Spark (male). The pair first nested on the 41st floor ledge of the Rhodes Tower four years ago. Their nests failed in 2011-12. One falcon, Zoom, fledged from the 2013 nest.
Students from Griffith Thomas Elementary School in Dublin submitted a list of 600 suggested names for the chicks. Division of Wildlife staff selected the school for the task after a reading teacher reported using the 2013 FalconCam blog as an ongoing classroom activity, according to Donna Daniel, peregrine project leader in central Ohio.
A committee of wildlife enthusiasts, Columbus media representatives and Ohio DNR staff narrowed the list to six “finalist” names on May 8. More than 3,500 online users voted in the final name selection.
Among those participating in Monday’s banding ceremony were three students who suggested the winning names. They were Trey Cleveland (Dart), Riley Harris (Blaze) and Kanna Takehara (Hoshi).
Daniel said all three chicks are healthy and will soon learn to use their talons and wings appropriately.
“Learning to fly is easy,” Daniel said. “Landing, on the other hand, is hard.”
Falcon followers in all 50 states and 41 countries monitor the Rhodes Tower nest via FalconCam annually, according to the Ohio DNR.
Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 16 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.