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Protecting City Hall's peregrine falcons

Pennsylvania was home to only 32 nesting pairs of peregrine falcons in 2012, but F. Arthur McMorris, peregrine falcon coordinator for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, hopes to change that.

On Monday, May 20, he banded four falcons that have nested on City Hall tower for the last three years. He commended Philadelphia City government for protecting the birds.

Banding the birds will allow game officials to track their movements and habits. McMorris hopes to manage their population and help restore it to original levels.

In 1940, peregrine falcons nested on City Hall, but the population in eastern North America has since dwindled due to widespread use of such pesticides as DDT.

The birds not only mate for life but also are known to remain in the same nesting site for life. "They don't mess with success," said McMorris.

Peregrine means "wanderer" and peregrine falcons banded in Philadelphia have been found nesting as far as Massachusetts and Ontario.