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Sex in the windy city.

Everyone loves a good love story. And that's exactly what scientists have given us with a new study on Chicago's faithful peregrine falcons.

In their natural habitat, peregrine falcons, which mate for life, live rather isolated lives, nesting on remote cliff ledges far from other couples. However, due to urban sprawl, more and more of these raptors have settled down in Midwestern urban neighborhoods, building nests on manmade structures like skyscrapers. Like most city dwellers, this puts them in rather close proximity to their neighbors.

Researchers with Chicago's Field Museum and the University of Illinois, Chicago wondered if these altered conditions might be impacting mating habits. "They're in much closer proximity to each other than they'd be in a more rural environment, and we thought they might be more promiscuous with more potential mates nearby," John Bates, co-author of the study and associate curator of birds at The Field Museum, said in a statement.


The scientists used DNA testing and field observations to assess the behavior of 35 falcon pairs in Chicago, and to determine whether the urban birds were as faithful as their country counterparts. As Mongabay reported, they found that only one falcon stepped out on his partner during the study period, and they believe he had a good excuse: He had lost his mate.

It's comforting to know that, in a world severely impacted by human development, some things remain constant.

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Title Annotation:CALL OF THE WILD; peregrine falcons and urban sprawl
Publication:Earth Island Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 21, 2016
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