- Associated Press - Saturday, June 6, 2015

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - About 40 people were on hand at Akron’s Cascade Plaza to glimpse the last of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ banded falcon chicks.

Ohio’s program to help the falcons is ending because the birds have largely recovered and special attention from the Division of Wildlife won’t be needed in 2016, the Akron Beacon Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1Jm4xoX ).

This year’s last five Ohio falcon bandings are “sad in a way,” said state spokeswoman Jamey Emmert. “But it speaks volumes to the success of the falcons’ recovery.”

State staffers went to the 19th floor of the FirstMerit Bank Tower and removed the two chicks from the nesting box on the tower’s southeast corner.

The chicks’ legs are full-grown and won’t get any thicker, Graber said. That’s why the bands can be affixed, she told the curious crowd.

The peregrine falcon is expected to be removed from Ohio’s threatened species list in July. The state will continue to monitor falcon population trends.

Biologist Laura Graber says “it’s a great comeback story for the species.”

Ohio has 30 nesting falcon pairs, half of which are located in the northeastern part of the state. One popular pair lives atop the Rhodes Tower in Columbus.

The first falcon nest in Ohio was in Toledo in 1988. Thirteen young birds were released in Akron in 1992 and 1993 to boost the birds’ population. Akron got its own nest in 1998.

More than a thousand pairs of peregrine falcons are found in North America. The falcons were removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999 and were moved to Ohio’s threatened species list in 2008.

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Information from: Akron Beacon Journal, http://www.ohio.com

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