Falcon Cam

The falcons have been spotted again this year in the nesting area at the library. It appears to be the same pair (Nona and Squawker) that has nested here for the last nine years. This is the 11th year in a row that a pair of peregrine falcons have nested at the Library. There is an Evanston Peregrine Falcon Watch for posting and sharing news and observations of the Evanston Peregrine Falcons. There is also a Facebook fan page:EPL Falcons on Facebook

Live FalconCam Image:

2014 Saved Images:


June 16 —Now why are the young falcons hanging out on the ledge of their nest box? What can they be getting ready to do?


June 2 —Feeding time!


May 19 —One week old


May 12 —Two chicks!


April 10 —Four Eggs!


April 8 —Three Eggs!


April 5 —Two Eggs!


April 3 —First Egg!


March 31 —Nona left, Squawker right.

2013 Saved Images:


June 6—We need more food!


May 17—I've got my eye on you!


May 9—Four chicks!


May 9— Nona closeup


May 7—Three chicks!


April 8—Four eggs!


April 4—Three eggs!


April 1—Two eggs!


March 25—Nona and Squawker


March 1 —Exit Nona!

Update — 6/24/2014

Tory and Wrigley have been seen together on the NW corner of the Prudential building on Sherman and Davis all yesterday evening.

Update — 6/22/2014

Latest falcon news! Wrigley flew (fledged) on Sunday. Falcon watcher Deborah picked Wrigley up behind the Women's Club of Evanston and released Wrigley on the roof of the east annex of the Carlson building. If you're in the area, watch for a possible sighting either on the wall or on one of the roofs surrounded by Church St, Chicago Avenue, Davis and Orrington Streets.

Also on Sunday, Tory was sighted flying down to a window box where Wrigley had perched. She's getting ready too!

Update — 6/04/2014

And the two falcon chicks are....female! Today, after being scooped from the nest by Mary Hennen from the Field Museum, the chicks were brought inside for banding, blood draws, measurement, and a viewing for the crowd of approximately 130 falcon fans. Josh Engel, from the Field Museum, assisted Mary. The falcons now have names, at least according to us humans. The names are Wrigley, in honor of Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary and Tory, in honor of Roger Tory Peterson, a naturalist who wrote many books about birds including the well-known Peterson Field Guides.

Next step for the birds: getting ready to learn to fly.

Update — 6/02/2014

We asked Mary Hennen of the Bird Division at The Field Museum a couple of questions today about Wednesday's 11 AM banding event and why only two eggs hatched:

Q. Will the adult Peregrine abandon the chicks because of the banding?
A. No. Some bird species are sensitive to human disturbance at the nest but the Peregrines are able to handle it. The adults exhibit defensive behaviors such as yelling and flying at the intruders but willing accept the young when they are returned to the nest.

Q. Why don't all the eggs hatch?
A. It could be to a variety of reasons. They may have been infertile to begin with. With the Peregrines, since the adults do not incubate until the clutch is nearly complete, the first egg laid may not hatch due to exposure to cold temperatures.

Update — 5/19/2014

Join us for our peregrine falcon banding and naming event! Mary Hennen and Josh Engel from the Field Museum will band the baby falcons on the Main Library's third floor (west side). June 4, 11 am. Mary is Director of the Chicago Peregrine Program and Josh is a researcher in the Bird Division. Name the baby falcons! Submit suggestions for falcon names to jschacter@cityofevanston.org. If your selection is chosen, you'll get front row seats (for two) at the banding event.

Update — 5/12/2014

Two chicks hatched over the weekend!

Update — 4/10/2014

Four eggs!

Update — 4/8/2014

Three eggs.

Update — 4/5/2014

Second egg!

Update — 4/3/2014

We have our first egg!

Update — 5/31/2013

Update — 5/30/2013

Everyone is banded! The names of the four 2013 eyases, one female and three males, are:

  • Shae - Feminine variant spelling of English unisex Shea, probably meaning "hawk-like." (also the name of a Game of Thrones character, a very popular series right now)
  • Gies - in honor of Matthew Gies' work supporting Chicago area peregrines.
  • Platon Karataev - the "little falcon" character in War and Peace: A near-angelic peasant imprisoned with Pierre, Platon is endlessly optimistic, kind, and generous. He teaches Pierre a lot about life.
  • Humphrey - after Humphrey Bogart, the actor who played Samuel Spade in the film The Maltese Falcon.

Update — 5/20/2013

Our friends from the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium will be at the Main Library on Thursday, May 30 at 10:30 am to band the baby falcons. The work will take place on the west side of the 3rd floor of the Main Library.
Update — 5/9/2013

Four chicks confirmed today.
Update — 5/7/2013

Three chicks spotted this morning!
Update — 5/6/2013

First egg hatched this morning!
Update — 4/8/2013

Four eggs!
Update — 4/4/2013

Three eggs!
Update — 4/1/2013

Two eggs spotted! The first was seen late on Saturday night.
Update — 3/26/2013

On the look out for the first egg!
Update — 5/14/2012

The friendly scientists from the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium will be stopping by on Thursday, May 31 at 11:30 am to band the peregrine falcon eyases.
Update — 5/6/2012

Second chick spotted around 4:30 pm.
Update — 5/2/2012

First chick seen hatching around 7 pm.
Update — 4/3/2012

Four eggs.
Update — 3/31/2012

Three eggs.
Update — 3/29/2012

Two eggs.
Update — 3/27/2012

First egg!

Falcons at the Library

Chick - 2004
Banding, 2004

Peregrine Falcons nested on the Library for the first time in the summer of 2004. That year there were four eggs, but shortly after the eggs hatched the female broke her wing leaving the male to raise the chicks on his own. Only one chick successfully fledged, the other three succumbed to malnourishment and disease. The female with the broken wing received veterinary treatment and now appears in nature education programs.

Nest with chicks - 2005
Chicks in the nest - 2005

In 2005 the same male returned to the Library with a new mate and three chicks fledged successfully. In the fall of 2005 the male broke his wing; despite treatment the wing did not heal and he had to be euthanized. 2005 marked the debut of the FalconCam.

The Evanston Review had an article about the falcons: "Falcon family thrills a rapt library crowd" (Evanston Review, June 30, 2005)


May, Dashiel, and Robinson
Dashiel, Robinson and May on banding day.

2006 was another good year. Four eggs were laid in mid April, three chicks hatched in mid May and all three fledged successfully between June 27 and 29. For a short while they were seen around Evanston, but they soon dispersed, and their current whereabouts are unknown.

On Monday June 12, 2006 staff and volunteers from the Field Museum banded and took blood samples from the chicks, and they posed for a photograph. One of the three chicks is female and two are male. They were named:

  • May — for May Theilgaard Watts the late famed naturalist for Morton Arboretum, an ecology pioneer in the Chicago area
  • Dashiell — for Dashiell Hammett the author of the Maltese Falcon
  • Robinson — for Robinson Jeffers an American poet who wrote a number of memorable poems about birds of prey
The mother was the same female that nested here in 2005, an unnamed bird born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Chick - 2007

In 2007, there were four chicks, three males and one female.

The birds were named:

  • Zipporah — for the wife of Moses. Her name in Hebrew means "little bird."
  • Baker — for John Alec Baker an obscure British librarian who wrote a memorable book of nature writing titled Peregrine.
  • Horus — for an Egyptian deity usually represented as a falcon or a falcon headed man.
  • Boccaccio — for Giovanni Boccaccio the author of The Decameron, which contains a memorable story about a falcon.

In 2008, there was one male and three females [Correction: Mistress Hussey turned out to be male, so there were actually 2 males and 2 females. He was presumed female at the time of banding because there was some doubt as to gender, and Mary Hennen of the Field Museum always errs on the side of female to prevent any chance of a still growing leg becoming constricted by the smaller male band.] The chosen names were:

  • Neal for Neal Ney - semi-professional bird and nature lover, former Evanston Public Library Director
  • Brigid for Brigid O'Shaughnessy the main female character in the Maltese Falcon
  • Mistress Hussey for Mistress Margaret Hussey who was compared to a falcon by poet John Skelton
  • Rebecca for Rebecca West the author of Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia.

In 2009, The Library peregrine falcons were banded, sampled and named on May 27. Their names are:

  • Deborah for Deborah Cohen, a dedicated caretaker of several generations of the Evanston peregrines.
  • Aldo for Aldo Leopold, an American ecologist, forester, and environmentalist. He was influential in the development of modern environmental ethics and in the movement for wilderness preservation.
  • Ean-the Gaelic name for "bird"
  • Elinor for Elinor Hoyt Wylie, American poet and novelist who wrote a poem titled "The Falcon."

In 2010, The Library peregrine falcons were banded, sampled and named on May 26. Their names are:

  • Lorraine in honor of Lorraine H. Morton, who was a mayor of Evanston from 1993 to 2009.
  • Hennen in honor of Mary Hennen, the director of the Chicago Peregrine Program for 19 years.
  • Perkins after Dwight Perkins who was known as the "father" of the Cook County Forest Preserve System.

The names of the four 2011 eyases (EYE-ah-sez) are:

  • Wilbur - named after Wilbur, the runt pig in E.B. White's Charlotte's Web. The runt of the litter, Wilbur is saved from a terrible fate by his friend Charlotte the spider.
  • Lincoln - named after Abraham Lincoln, a famous Illinois resident and our 16th president. He led the nation through Civil War and brought an end to slavery in the United States.
  • Dewey - named after Melvil Dewey, American librarian and reformer. Dewey established the Dewey decimal system of classifying books and played a prominent role in developing professional institutions for librarians.
  • Rosalind - the central character of Shakespeare's As You Like It. Some critics call Rosalind one of the most complex, fully realized Shakespearean characters. As an added bonus, there is a falcon reference in As You Like It (Act 3, Scene 3 - Touchstone: "As the ox hath his bow, sir, the horse his curb and the falcon her bells, so man hath his desires; and as pigeons bill, so wedlock would be nibbling.")

A quick video of the return to the pillar cap after the banding.

The names of the two 2012 eyases are Gribley (male) and Marigold (female).

The names of the four 2013 eyases are:

  • Shae - Feminine variant spelling of English unisex Shea, probably meaning "hawk-like." (also the name of a Game of Thrones character, a very popular series right now)
  • Gies - in honor of Matthew Gies' work supporting Chicago area peregrines.
  • Platon Karataev - the "little falcon" character in War and Peace: A near-angelic peasant imprisoned with Pierre, Platon is endlessly optimistic, kind, and generous. He teaches Pierre a lot about life.
  • Humphrey - after Humphrey Bogart, the actor who played Samuel Spade in the film The Maltese Falcon.

More on Peregrine Falcons

For the latest in breaking peregrine research:
The Peregrine Fund World Center for Birds of Prey
Has photos, an online research library and newsletter about peregrines and other raptors.
Peregrine Falcons- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Brief facts about the peregrine.
The Canadian Peregrine Foundation
Has a raptor photo identification gallery, live webcams, and a reference page on peregrine biology.
The Raptor Center
Sponsored by the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine,this site has information about what to do with an injured raptor, a section on the birds the center has treated, reports on peregrine falcons, and migration tracking maps. Users can view pictures and movies, and listen to individual bird sounds.
For further information about Peregrine Falcons see:
Web Sites:
Peregrine Falcons" from the Encyclopedia of Life
The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus.
The Field Museum's web site about the reintroduction of Peregrines to the Chicago area.
The Chicago Wilderness article "How Peregrines Learned to Hack the Big City"
Adult Books in the Library's Collection:
Tennant, Alan. On the Wing : To the Edge of the Earth with the Peregrine Falcon. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.
Tennant relates wild adventures while radio tracking Arctic Peregrines on their migratory journeys.
Baker, John Alec. The Peregrine. New York, Harper & Row, 1967.
One of the most remarkable pieces of nature writing. Baker, untrained in ornithology, devoted ten years of his life to studying Peregrine Falcons near his home in England.
Children's Books in the Library's Collection:
Unwin, Mike. Peregrine Falcon. Chicago, Ill., Heinemann Library, 2004.
Wechsler, Doug. Peregrine Falcons. New York, Rosen Pub. PowerKids Press, c2000.
Jenkins, Priscilla Belz. Falcons Nest on Skyscrapers. New York, HarperCollins, 1996.
Green, Carl R. The Peregrine Palcon. Mankato, Minn., Crestwood House, 1986.
Arnold, Caroline. Saving the Peregrine Falcon. Minneapolis, Carolrhoda Books, 1985.
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