Vito, Delta, Tomahawk, Elsu, Kanoa, Flash, Lucky Linde, Weaver, Roxanne, Hope, Sky and Calamity Jane, are hanging out on the Assurant Solutions' Rapid City building rooftop this summer, waiting to get their feet off the ground. These aren't any troublemaking teens finding sanctuary far from the crowd below, however. They are rare baby chicks learning to fly from the tallest building in town.
Up on the roof of the Assurant Solutions' building a temporary sanctuary is the new summer digs for a flock of peregrine falcons. Once on the verge of extinction in the United States, this breed of falcon is making a remarkable recovery throughout the country but still remains on the endangered list in South Dakota.
In an effort to restore the breed to the state, the South Dakota Departments of Agriculture and Game, Fish and Parks (SDGFP) launched a program in Rapid City this spring to get more falcons up in the air. After purchasing several baby chicks from a falconer in Illinois, the departments' workers took to Assurant Solutions' rooftop to help establish a home for the birds and care for their needs until they developed the strength to fly and hunt on their own.
"As members of the Rapid City community, Assurant is proud to participate in this great effort to help restore the peregrine falcon to the skies of South Dakota," said Mary Ann Pembroke, vice president of human resources at Assurant Solutions. "We are happy to lend a hand and our roof to help the project get off the ground and our employees are proud of our efforts to provide the falcons with the environment necessary to give them a great start in life."
Assurant Solution's rooftop affords the falcons a birds-eye view and a great jumping off point for their first test flights. The first batch of baby chicks arrived in May. Since then volunteers have helped feed and nurture the birds. Twenty peregrine falcons are expected to take flight from the ledge of the Assurant Solutions building this summer.
Read more about the Peregrine falcon recovery in South Dakota.