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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, June 19, 2020

Peregrine falcons to be released




- Photograph provided

A pair of peregrine falcons will be released into the wild Friday, June 19.

Rock City is continuing its partnership with Wings to Soar in an ongoing peregrine falcon restoration project to reestablish the breed to this region.

The pair of siblings, one male and one female, hatched May 2, came to Rock City from a Minnesota breeder, Andy Kramer. At 33 days old upon entering a hack box at Rock City, the birds remained there before release.

“It is the male that establishes the nesting territory,” says John Stokes with Wings to Soar. “So, if we want peregrines to nest in the area again, we need males to return here. Apparently, there are enough females in the region for the males to recruit. But the state of Georgia also wants us to release some females for different bloodlines.”

The female is equipped with satellite telemetry allowing her movements to be tracked anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. This is the eighth pair of birds and 10th peregrine release from the hacking site, bringing the total number of birds released to 18 since the project’s inception in 2006.

Live from the hack box, viewers can watch the birds anytime on the webcam feed

Rock City is once again holding a naming contest for its social media followers to submit bird name suggestions on Facebook. The winner to be announced the day of the release, receives a pair of annual passes to see Rock City. Most of the previous names have also been chosen via social media: Garnet, Frieda, Rocky, Ted, Zenith, Chatty, Lookout, Fourscore, Orville, Wilbur, Lewis, Clark, Heckle, Jeckle, Apollo and Artemis.

Past peregrine falcon releases from Rock City

2006: Garnet and Frieda

2008: Rocky

2010: Ted and Zenith (brothers)

2011: Chatty and Lookout (brothers)

2012: Fourscore (synonym for 80, honoring Rock City’s 80th anniversary) 2014: Orville and Wilbur (brothers)

2016: Lewis and Clark (brothers)

2017: Heckle and Jeckle (brothers)

2019: Apollo and Artemis (brother/sister)