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Peregrine falcon viewing trip is June 17

Published: Wednesday, June 4 2014 2:15 p.m. MDT

A peregrine falcon perches near a falcon's nest on the northeast corner of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 13, 2011. A free field trip sponsored by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources offers a chance to view and learn about peregrine falcons.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — A free field trip sponsored by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources offers a chance to view and learn about peregrine falcons.

The field trip will happen at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 17 at Temple Square, led by Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the state Division of Wildlife Resources. Participants should meet just east of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

Walters said the falcon pair deposited four eggs this spring in a nest box on the northeast side of the building. Three of the eggs hatched. Participants most likely will see the adult peregrine falcons perched on the edge of the nest box or on the side of the building. The birds also may fly to and from the box.

Walters says the recently hatched falcons aren't quite ready to fly yet.

When the falcons take their first flights, Walters and a team of volunteers will be on hand to rescue them.

"You never know where young falcons will end up," he said. "We've had them land in the middle of the busy downtown streets and crash into the sides of buildings."

If the birds aren't harmed, Walters will release them below the beehive atop the Joseph Smith building.

"The idea is to rescue and release each young bird until the birds develop the confidence and competence needed to sustain themselves in flight," he said.

Walters said learning to fly in a downtown environment filled with glass, metal, rock and brick surfaces is a major challenge for young falcons.

On the evening of the field trip, Walters will train anyone who wants to become a member of his volunteer Peregrine Falcon Watchpost/Rescue Team.

For more information about the field trip or the training, call Walters at 801-209-5326.

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