Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) -  Mayo Clinic celebrated its 35th year of the Peregrine Falcon Program Wednesday.

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Staff weighted, named, and banded four healthy peregrine falcon chicks. The chicks have been nesting in a box atop the Mayo building in downtown Rochester.

Mayo Clinic photographer Mike Burrows
Photo From Mayo Clinic Photographer Mike Burrows

Following World World II, the widespread use of pesticides, especially DDT, put many wildlife species at risk, including the peregrine falcon. When DDT was banned in 1973, recovery efforts began for many threatened species. After an invitation from the not-for-profit Midwest Peregrine Society, Mayo Clinic started to host the falcons in 1987 and has produced 70 chicks since then.

This year, falcon parents Hattie and Orton had 2 females and 2 males. After more than 450 falcon fans submitted over 1,700 name suggestions for the chicks the names Nova, Comet, Rebel, and Tom were chosen.

The chick named ‘Tom’ is in honor of Tom Behrens, Mayo Clinic’s Unit Head of Facilities. He has been an integral part of the program for 30 years and his team built the nest box the chicks were returned to after the banding.

Photo of Tom Behrens and Tom the chick - Photo From Mayo Clinic photographer Mike Burrows
Photo of Tom Behrens and Tom The Chick - Photo From Mayo Clinic Photographer Mike Burrows

Mayo Clinic says they will continue to grow as they prepare for their next adventure: fledging and learning to fly. A live falcon cam in the nesting box provides a front-row seat as the chicks continue to grow and soon leave Hattie and Orton as empty nesters.

The Peregrine Falcon Program supports the Mayo Clinic value of Stewardship and recognizes the healing dimension of nature.

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