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Officials prepare for first flight of falcons born atop Salt Lake City building

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Posted at 10:10 PM, Jun 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-21 00:10:24-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The three baby peregrine falcons that have called the Joseph Smith Memorial Building home are getting ready to fly for the first time, but before they do, the public has a chance to name them.

The three baby falcons hatched in mid-May and have been getting bigger and stronger 10 stories above ground. They're getting ready to spread their wings, and dozens of volunteers are ready to make sure they have a successful flight.

"We're overdue for something to happen, so it'll be soon, maybe as early as Sunday," said Bob Walters, who is a Division of Wildlife Resources Watchable Wildlife Program Coordinator.

Anticipation is building as these feathered friends will find their first flights in the next few days. And when they do, Walters and his team of volunteers will be ready.

He said: "We scramble and we use walkie-talkies and communicate that, 'Yeah he's over here, she's over there,' and if they come to Mother Earth and we can get our hands on them and they're unharmed, we put them back up on top of the Joseph Smith building, let them go again, take another flight."

Walters said these peregrine falcons - visible on a 24 hour live stream - have brought people together from all walks of life.

"All ages, occupations, ethnicities, you name it: They're there and that's an opportunity to talk to people about wildlife,” he said.

But, before these baby falcons take flight, you get to help name them.

Liz Schubert, a peregrine falcon blogger, says, "We've got some names that are coming in a set like a trio, like Peanut, Butter, Jelly or Snap, Crackle, Pop. Got a couple of Greek Gods."

Schubert said she's looking for names that are creative, easy to say, and gender neutral. You can visit the Salt Lake City Falcon Facebook page to make your suggestions.

"I think people relate to nature and like something where they get to watch wildlife and they get excited when they can interact and be part of the process,” Schubert said.

A survey with the top names will be released Friday night, and the public will have the weekend to vote for their favorites. The birds will be named Monday.