A 28th-floor balcony on the North Side has become home to a family of peregrine falcons, a species of predatory birds just recently brought back from an existential threat thanks to conservation efforts led by the Field Museum. It's that once-endangered status that makes it a federal crime to interfere with their nesting, giving them a kind of instant Squatter's Rights wherever they go. Building management initially tried to shoo the falcons away, but the apartment's resident knew enough about the legal and ecological situation to convince them and other residents to leave the birds be. Eventually the pair of falcons were able to hatch some eggs and raise a small brood safely on the balcony without being disturbed, and under the watchful eye of a wildlife photographer who was invited to crash in apartment to document the rare experience. The National Audubon Society just published some of the photos along with the fascinating story, and though the falcon family have migrated away for the season, you can track their earlier adventures via instagram.
·Peregrines—and a Photographer—Bunk Out at Chicago Man's Apartment [Audubon.org]
·Wild Things archives [Curbed Chicago]