PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A family of the fastest birds on earth are just coming out of their shells on top of an iconic building in downtown Providence. The birds are peregrine falcons, and four of them are in the process of hatching on the "Superman Building" in Providence, also known as the Industrial National Bank Building.
As of Sunday afternoon, three of four eggs had hatched fuzzy white chicks. Their mother, nicknamed "Leftwing" because she's missing some feathers on her left wing, has been laying her eggs in this spot for the past three years.
The public can watch all the falcons happenings atop the building from a live stream that was set up by Rhode Island Audobon Society, but they can't get too close.
"They're wild birds and they're protected by law, so we can't disturb them," said Lauren Parmelee, of the Audubon Society. The only time humans ever come in contact with the falcons is when they put bands on the chicks' legs so scientists can identify them. Even then, Parmelee said, "You wear hard hats, you wear glasses, because those peregrine falcons are very protective of their young, and they have very sharp talons."
In about 30 to 45 days, the tiny chicks will be ready to hop out of the nest and start flying, said Parmelee. Peregrine falcons were nearly extinct in New England by the 1950's, after heavy use of the pesticide DDT made the birds' eggs too fragile to survive the hatching process.
After intense conservation efforts, they were reintroduced and are now doing well.
WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzSausville) reports: