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Falcon chicks to be banded in Fargo

Courtesy Photo Peregrine falcons are nesting again atop the Bank of the West building in downtown Fargo. Audubon Dakota and Bank of the West will host a public banding event at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

FARGO — Annie the peregrine falcon had three surprises for folks who watch the raptors nest atop the downtown Bank of the West tower overlooking Fargo’s Island Park.

It turns out Annie should have been named Andy, since he’s the proud father of three peregrine chicks, born to a female named Miracle.

The banding of the chicks, the 13th annual peregrine banding event here, will be Tuesday morning at a Bank of the West conference room, the bank and Audubon Dakota announced Wednesday.

The first 100 spectators who arrive will be able to watch scientists place bands on the chicks, which are called eyasses, enabling biologists and others to track the birds’ movements once they leave the nest and migrate south this fall.

The fluffy chicks hatched over the Memorial Day weekend, following their parents’ arrival at the bank’s east-facing nesting box in late March.

Annie is stuck with his feminine name despite his paternal status because once a raptor has been officially named in a registry, it sticks.

“Once it’s named and it’s in the books, there isn’t much you can do about it,” said Ben Williams, conservation programs coordinator for Audubon Dakota.

In fact, names are assigned when a chick is banded, so Tuesday’s banding ceremony will be an important occasion for Annie and Miracle’s brood.

Thanks to the FalconCam, which can be accessed online, anyone who is interested can check on the chicks’ progress at

“Having the ability to watch these chicks grow and develop, as well as their interactions with the adults, is pretty amazing,” Williams said.

Falcon fanciers at the Bank of the West have been able to watch brooding peregrine falcon pairs raise 36 offspring since 2001.

“We are delighted and honored to host the falcons again this year,” said Scott Green, branch area manager at Bank of the West.

Annie and Miracle nested at Bank of the West last year. A chick born there has been observed nesting in Grand Forks, which has a nesting box on a water tower on the campus of the University of North Dakota, Williams said.

Donations to the Fargo Falcon Project, to help ensure its continued improvement, can be made by visiting the website or by sending them to Audubon Dakota, 118 N. Broadway, Suite 512, Fargo, ND 58102.