By Julie Shapiro and Heather Grossmann
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — These chicks may look all warm and fuzzy, but it won’t be long before Stephen, Matthew, Brianne and Ramona will be swooping through the air in lower Manhattan, doing what Peregrine falcons do best — hunt.
The four baby falcons, who entered the world in a nest outside 55 Water Street in March, were given names and identification bands Wednesday in an event that was broadcast via live Web cam.
Stephen is named in honor of Corporal Stephen R. Koch, who joined the Army in response to the Sept. 11 attacks and died in combat in 2008.
Matthew is the namesake of Corporal Matthew Bradford, who was wounded in Iraq in 2007 and earlier this year became the first blind double amputee to re-enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Brianne's name comes from Brianne Goodwin, MPH, RN, who helped give emergency medical treatment for the vice president of construction at 55 Water Street.
Ramona is named for Specialist Ramona Chaves, an Army surgical technician who was injured earlier this year in a training accident.
The parent falcons, Jack and Jill, presided over the hatching of the chicks on March 22 and 23.
Bird enthusiasts regard the Peregrine, which is on the most endangered species list, as nature’s most remarkable flying hunter.
The falcons dive down on their prey in mid-air, often at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. They use their talons to knock their victims out, and if that doesn’t work, they use a “tooth-like projection” in their jaw to dislocate the spine of their prey, according to the 55 Water Street Website.
The Department of Environmental Protection puts bands on the endangered creatures so that they can keep track of them.