State DOT counting growing falcon population

SEATTLE -- Peregrine falcons around the state are being banded by volunteers who hope to track the species, which were once nearly extinct in Washington state.

"By 1974 we were down to one nest, now we're up to 130 nests, 140 nests," volunteer Ed Deal said.

To keep track of the next generation of peregrine falcons, workers with the state Department of Transportation have to go where they live.

In this case, high above the water underneath the Ship Canal Bridge.

"Being the first one down I guess she didn't like me that much," WSDOT's Steve Riechuth said.

WSDOT workers got the wrath of the raptors.

Riechuth was even attacked.

"Next thing I know I saw something whip by me and pulled up my arm and she was right there on my arm," he said.

And wildlife volunteer got hit in the eye.

"Hit me in the face. Bent my glasses out. They were out to about there. I'm lucky cause she came hit me in the face. So she didn't get me," Deal said.

There are only seven pairs of peregrine falcons living in the Seattle area.

And they actually help keep our bridges in shape.

"They keep the pigeon population down, which means they have to paint the bridge less frequently," Deal said.

Helping a stunning bird still on the comeback.