Harrisburg falcon fans: Now is the time to tune in to falcon cam. The four baby pergrine falcons - known as eyases - born this spring are growing fast and learning their way around the ledge atop the Rachel Carson building.
Tomorrow you can watch them get their ID bands during a live-streamed event on the falcon cam home page.
The Department of Environmental Protection hosts the annual banding from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the Carson building. (If you miss it, the video should be available at the DEP's falcon website later.)
During the banding, biologists will weigh the four young falcons and place a metal band with a falcon-specific code around each bird’s left leg. The band code will be used by wildlife officials and bird enthusiasts to monitor the birds after they leave the nest. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service band will be placed on the eyases’ right leg, registering each on a federal banding database.
These bands are critical to monitoring the falcons' behavior. If one turns up injured or, sadly sometimes, dead, biologists are able to determine how far afield they go, where they may be nesting and whether they suffered from disease or were injured.
Falcon cam is livestreaming from the nest 24/7 and there is plenty of activity to see these days on the ledge - which is an unholy mess of feathers and the other remains of the falcons' daily avian diet.
If you are lucky - and can stomach it - you may get a "Wild Kingdom" moment and catch the parents bringing in a pigeon or other bird to feed the youngsters.
It was native Pennsylvania Rachel Carson, a biologist, who first sounded the alarm about the dangers of the pesticide DDT - which almost led to the falcons' extinction - in her 1958 classic "Silent Spring."
The Department of Environmental Protection honored her memory by naming its headquarters after her. So it is fitting that of all the towers in Harrisburg, the falcons chose the Carson building when they first started breeding here 17 years ago