CHICAGO, IL - May 13, 2002 - They’re ba-a-a-ck! This is one time when Marriott ExecuStay, the temporary housing services division of Marriott International, Inc. (MAR:NYSE) doesn’t mind being “for the birds.” After a two-year absence, a female/male pair of peregrine falcons - Chicago’s City Bird and an Illinois State Endangered Species - has returned to the Marriott ExecuStay high-rise at 320 N. Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago to nest in a planter on the 25th floor and raise its young. Two chicks hatched April 23, under the watchful eye of a guest, who has since taken the birds under her wing.
With checkout time rapidly approaching, Mary Hennen, an ornithologist with Chicago’s Field Museum and head of the Museum’s Chicago Peregrine Release and Restoration Program, will lead a team to the birds’ balcony on Tuesday, May 14, 2002, at 10:00 a.m. to band the chicks. Banding is the process by which the birds are tagged and tracked during their lifetime. The gender of the falcons is also determined during the banding process.
Lois A. Ebensberger, a vice president with JP Morgan Chase Bank’s Houston office and a long-term Marriott ExecuStay guest on whose balcony the peregrines made their nest, first noticed the falcon family earlier this year. She notified ExecuStay managers and the Field Museum, and began her nurturing watch over the feathered guests.
“I call the falcons my pets,” says Ms. Ebensberger, who acknowledged that watching over the birds has given her a sense of “home” while traveling. “People hate leaving their pets at home; I was able to adopt mine on the road,” she said. Ms. Ebensberger added that she named the two chicks John and Dan, after two co-workers of Clune Construction Company of Chicago.
Dan Bannon, Marriott ExecuStay general manager for Chicago, said that the falcon pair’s first visit to the building coincided with its renovation and re-opening two years ago. “In 2000, we gave the birds VIP treatment once we learned that they were an Endangered Species,” he said. Because the building hadn’t yet opened when the birds nested, ExecuStay blocked off six corporate apartments for the safety of the birds. “We gave them six units at no charge, an unparalleled grand opening rate,” said Mr. Bannon.
According to Ms. Hennen, only nine pairs of peregrines live in Illinois, all in the Chicago area. “Field Museum scientists study and protect these endangered birds, which have extremely low birth and survival rates, she said. “Banding allows scientists to monitor health, dispersal and longevity.”
Digital photos of the falcons in their nest are available. For more information about falcons, see http://endangered.fws.gov/peregrin.html
Opened in 1921, The Field Museum is one of the world`s premier natural history museums, housing almost 22 million specimens. It is also a major center for scientific research, with a presence in 93 countries and more than 70 scientists working in anthropology, botany, conservation, cultural understanding, geology and zoology.
The Field Museum is located at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas and New Years Day. For more information visit www.fieldmuseum.org.
Marriott ExecuStay (www.execustay.com; 1-888-840-7829) provides more than 6,000 fully furnished and accessorized temporary housing apartments in approximately 200 U.S. cities and Canada for travelers who require stays of 30 days or more. ExecuStay is part of Marriott’s extended-stay lodging portfolio, which also includes Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Marriott Executive Apartments.