The Fish and Wildlife Service in Madison, Wis., will conduct a necropsy - an animal autopsy - on the body of a young male peregrine falcon that was found dead in a gutter about six blocks from its nesting area.
The bird, which had been missing for a week before being found Friday, disappeared the evening of June 30. He was the last of three chicks that hatched in May on the ninth-floor ledge of the former Hotel Utah.Bob Walters, a biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said the bird's body was located following a telephone call from someone who reported a dead bird on the side of the road.
"The band on one of the legs is flattened," Walters said. "That suggests to me that, maybe not initially, but ultimately, he was hit by a car."
The falcon's female siblings earlier this week demonstrated competent flying skills, following the fledgling process called "hell week" by Walters because the young birds, unaccustomed to flying, frequently crash into windows or neighboring buildings.
The carcass will be sent to wildlife officials in Wisconsin for analysis, he said. Scientists there may be able to determine if the bird initially crashed into a plate-glass window.
This is the fifth year peregrine falcons have nested on the former hotel, which is being converted into an office building. In the past four years, nine chicks - seven males and two females - were successfully hatched.
One of last year's young males broke a wing while trying to fly and the wing had to be amputated. The division hopes to use him in a captive breeding program.