Urban Birdwatching

A pair of peregrine falcons have been hanging around downtown Evanston for a few weeks now. Anne mentioned that she’d seen them on the third floor ledge of the old Marshall Field’s building. Sure enough, the next day, as I was walking past the Barnes and Nobel I heard this incredible squeaking sound, like a loud, rusty gate, and knew that was a bird. Looked up and there it was. Beautiful birds, and fast. When hunting they can hit speeds of 200 mph–fastest on the planet.

As I looked up the second bird (a mate?) flew off the ledge, up and over the bookstore. Brought my binoculars with me a couple of times to and from work. Later in the week, when I was in a better position to see where the bird was flying each time it headed off eastward, I saw that its second perch was on the railing along the rooftop of the Orrington Hotel. You can easily see it if you stand on the corner by Uncle Dan’s.

Then today, as I was walking past the library, I heard the tell-tale squeaking-squawkings and looked up to see one of the birds come in for a landing. It looked like he was feeding on something, (a pigeon maybe?) because the feathers were flying. The second bird was perched on another section of the library squawking quite a bit, and they both communicated like that back and forth for a while. Some more flying around, squawking, and eventually they both ended up perched on the railing atop the hotel. Don’t know enough about peregrine behavior to say if they were courting or not, but I’ll be keeping an eye out on the library–nesting, perhaps?

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