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Indiana DNR: Peregrine Falcons Are Thriving in Indiana

The Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources says 40 falcon chicks hatched this spring, 32 more births than were seen in 2016.

INDIANAPOLIS -- The fastest bird in the world is thriving here in the Hoosier state.

The Department of Natural Resources says the state's breeding population of peregrine falcons remains productive. This spring, they came across, and placed identification bands on, 40 chicks; DNR only banded 8 falcon chicks in 2016. 

The peregrine falcon, known to fly at top speeds of more than 200 miles per hour, was once threatened with extinction in North America. 

Indiana started its peregrine falcon reintroduction project in 1991. By 1994, DNR had released 60 young falcons in Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and South Bend. 

Their recovery resulted in their removal from the federal endangered species list in 1999, making the peregrine one of the most successful stories in the 40 years of the Endangered Species Act.

The number of nesting pairs in the state has continued to increase since the birds were removed from the endangered species list.

"We believe there are currently 22 territories of nest sites around the state," said Allisyn Gillet with the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.

These nesting sites can be found on buildings, under bridges, at power plants and even on smokestacks along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The falcons can also been seen in downtown Indianapolis.

"Popular peregrine falcon territory that we have is actually at Market Tower in Indianapolis," said Gillet. "We put up nest boxes there and they have been active for a very long time, for many decades."

If you've never seen a falcon before, here's how you might be able to spot them: Gillet says they resemble a raptor.

"Falcons have very pointed wings and they fly really, really fast. They're probably a little bit smaller than a hawk and they have a very specific hooked bill that allows them to capture and kill their prey," Gillet explained.

So, the next time you're in downtown Indianapolis, look up--you might just see one of these beautiful birds.

(Photo by Arterra/via Getty Images)

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