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Three young peregrines were released 20 stories above bustling...

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MONTREAL -- Three young peregrines were released 20 stories above bustling downtown city streets in an attempt to counter previous failures to re-introduce the falcons after a 17-year absence.

The five-week old birds, released from atop the courthouse Tuesday, were expected to feed on their favorite delicacy of pigeon and may contribute to the control of pest birds, said David Bird of McGill University's Raptor Center.

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'We hope that in 1983 Montreal will be the home of these fast-flying falcons,' he said.

The trio, raised in captivity, should adjust rapdily to city life on narrow ledges of numerous older buildings, Bird said.

During the 1950s peregrines lived atop the Sun Life building and were renowned as the first falcons to breed in an urban environment. As many as 22 of 50 offspring survived but the birds disappeared and have not since returned.

A recent attempt to re-introduce the falcons to the city core ended in 'total disaster' and the mating of another pair of adult peregrines released this spring also failed. 'Their marriage was annuled when a great-horned owl, a mortal enemy of the falcons, disturbed their nesting,' Bird said.

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