Two peregrine falcon chicks that were a part of the Department of Natural Resources and Indiana State University’s hatching program are believed to have been killed after storms swept through Terre Haute earlier this week.
ISU biologists say the four-week old females were swept from their nest on the roof of the vacant Statesman Towers dormitory during the inclement weather.
“It’s tough being a little bird trying to become an adult,” says Steven Lima, an ornithology professor at ISU.
He says while the loss is unfortunate, it’s not rare. In fact, only a small percentage of peregrine falcons survive to adulthood. The majority fall out of their nests, which are built on top of high buildings that remind the birds of cliffs.
“This is just happens to most of the babies, actually,” he says. “One way or another, most of them die after they leave the nest and when they’re trying to establish themselves as adults. But these didn’t even get that far.”
According to the university, the body of one of the chicks was found at the base of the building, while the other was not in is rooftop nest. Lima says the chances of the other chick having survived are extremely slim.
While once an endangered species, peregrine falcons are making a comeback after being reintroduced to the state in the 1970s.
Scientists believe there are approximately two dozen pairs of falcons living in Indiana.