DNR bands four falcons in Fort Wayne

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FORT WAYNE, Ind., May 23, 2003 - American Electric Power (AEP) served as host today for the banding of four peregrine falcon chicks that hatched last month in the nesting box on the roof of One Summit Square, the city’s tallest building. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) placed metal identification bands on the legs of the falcon chicks during the 10:30 a.m. event. The bands will help the DNR keep track of the young birds as they migrate either late this summer or in the fall.

Four students from Bunche Elementary School, Jacob Dembar, Tristan Noll, DaiMonte Hathaway and Lauren Tarbet, who submitted the names for this year’s falcon chicks, were on hand, along with their teacher, Edee McMahan, to watch the banding process performed by DNR wildlife biologist John Castrale and wildlife technician Aaron Holbrook. The banding is done while the birds are flightless. Their first flights will be short ones around One Summit Square and to surrounding buildings. In addition to the banding, the sex of the chicks was determined.

The chicks - Spirit, Liberty, Hunter and Swifty - hatched between April 30 and May 3, and are the offspring of Freedom and Roosevelt. Freedom, the mother, was released in Evansville by the DNR in 1994 as part of the Indiana peregrine falcon restoration project. Roosevelt was wild-hatched in Columbus, Ohio, in 1995. The pair has been nesting atop One Summit Square since 1997 and Freedom raised chicks with another male the previous year.

AEP offers Falconcam, which is updated every 30 seconds from sunup to sundown, on AEP’s World Wide Web site, http://www.AEP.com/go/falconcam, and allows viewers to monitor the chicks’ progress from a surveillance camera installed on the roof of the building.

The Fort Wayne adult pair is only the second to settle in an urban area of Indiana. A pair has been nesting on top of Market Tower in Indianapolis since 1995. Other pairs of peregrine falcons are nesting in Indiana this year along the Lake Michigan shore, Kokomo and South Bend.

Although peregrine falcons in the wild choose nesting spots on high cliffs, they have adapted to urban areas where they can settle on tall buildings.

In August 1999, peregrine falcons were taken off the federal endangered species list. However, the falcons are still protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and they remain on the State of Indiana’s endangered species list.

American Electric Power owns and operates more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States and select international markets and is the largest electricity generator in the U.S. AEP is also one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, with almost 5 million customers linked to AEP’s 11-state electricity transmission and distribution grid. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio.

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Susan Banta
Corporate Communications Manager
American Electric Power
260/425-2133


Alisha Schiffli
Nongame Information Specialist
Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
317/232-4080