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Peregrine falcon chicks banded, named Gus and Maggie

More Information

Family video

To watch the peregrine falcons nesting on top of Indiana Michigan Power Center, go to the falcon camera at http://www.aep.com/environment/falconcam.

Namesakes

Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, who was born in Mitchell in southern Indiana, was a Mercury astronaut who died in 1967 with two other astronauts during a launchpad test of their Apollo spacecraft.

Margaret Ray Ringenberg, who was born in 1921 in Fort Wayne and grew up in Hoagland, served during World War II as a member of the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, who flew new planes from factories to military bases and who also towed targets during shooting practice for artillery and anti-aircraft gunners. After the war, she returned to Fort Wayne and raised a family, but taught flying lessons and continued to compete in air races until her death in 2008. 
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 12:01 pm
Capable of reaching 200 mph in a dive, peregrine falcons are known as the world's fastest bird. But the two peregrine chicks banded Tuesday from the nest on top of the Indiana Michigan Power Center were named for Hoosiers who flew even faster. The chicks, a male and female, were named Gus for astronaut the late Virgil "Gus" Grissom and Maggie for the late pioneering local aviator Margaret Ringenberg. 

Along with being banded for identification, both fluffy grayish chicks also received brief veterinary checkups, squawking nearly the entire time they were worked on by John Castrale, a bird biologist retired from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' Division of Fish and Wildlife. Castrale, who still bands peregrine falcon chicks around the state under a contract with the DNR, was assisted by John Winebrenner, a volunteer with the DNR and the local Soarin' Hawk Raptor Rehabilitation Center.

Castrale also confirmed the parents are female Moxie and male Jamie, who have nested on top the 26-story I &M Power Center for the past four years.

"The female was sitting right there waiting," when they returned the chicks to the nest box, Castrale said afterward.

He and Winebrenner wore hardhats to avoid being injured as the adult birds tried to defend the nest.

This year, I & M asked the Soarin' Hawk center to name the chicks, said Kim Sabrosky, I & M community affairs manager. The all-volunteer group has been a partner in local peregrine falcon restoration efforts for many years.

I & M asked the group to select names that relate to Indiana's bicentennial celebration this year, volunteer Mike Dobbs said.

Soarin' Hawk members submitted potential names related to Indiana history, and then voted to narrow the suggestions to a short list of boy and girl names because they didn't know if the chicks were male or female until the banding Tuesday, Dobbs said.

Soarin' Hawk members voted Monday on their top two boy and girl name choices, he said.

Gus and Maggie pushed the total to 49 chicks that have been hatched on I & M's roof since the nest box was set up there in 1996, Castrale said.

Moxie, a female hatched in 2011 in Canton, Ohio, laid three eggs in mid-March. Maggie hatched April 22, and Gus, who is smaller, arrived April 26. The third egg didn't hatch.

Moxie and Jamie, who hatched in 2010 in Port Sheldon, Mich., will take care of their brood for about two and a half months before the youngsters go off on their own. The chicks typically begin flying at about six weeks old.  

More Information

Family video

To watch the peregrine falcons nesting on top of Indiana Michigan Power Center, go to the falcon camera at http://www.aep.com/environment/falconcam.

Namesakes

Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, who was born in Mitchell in southern Indiana, was a Mercury astronaut who died in 1967 with two other astronauts during a launchpad test of their Apollo spacecraft.

Margaret Ray Ringenberg, who was born in 1921 in Fort Wayne and grew up in Hoagland, served during World War II as a member of the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, who flew new planes from factories to military bases and who also towed targets during shooting practice for artillery and anti-aircraft gunners. After the war, she returned to Fort Wayne and raised a family, but taught flying lessons and continued to compete in air races until her death in 2008. 

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