Diners fetching lunch at City Creek Center and milling about Temple Square are not looking up, but they should be.
Early Friday, two of the three 1-month-old peregrine falcons stepped out of their nest on the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City and took their first perilous flights.
One of them didn't survive the day. Learning to fly is a terrifying process for young falcons. Their parents starve them down to flying weight in hopes that their stomachaches will make them eager enough to soar. When they do begin to fly, they face many obstacles, including weak wings, moving vehicles and confusing glass windows.
The oldest fledgling which falcon watchers dubbed Primo, for first took off at about 5:35 a.m. The bird swooped out of the nest and flew straight across to the top of the LDS Church's Administration Building.
The second falcon ditched the nest at about 6:45 a.m. and dared to cross South Temple and fly into City Creek Center. It landed at a department store and earned its new name: Macy. When the temperatures got too hot, Macy flew over to a ledge near Kneaders Bakery & Cafe in the food court.
Later, in the afternoon, she took another bold flight, which ended with her smashing into the Key Bank building.
Cindy Sommerfeld, a self-proclaimed "die-hard birder" and a volunteer with the downtown peregrine falcon group for seven years, said Macy's venture was the longest first flight she's even seen.
A group of about eight to 12 falcon-watch volunteers are circling the area and trying to keep tabs on the fledglings.
"Yesterday I was here from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.," said Mary Lou Emerson, a two-year volunteer. She started watching the nest camera after a family member told her about it and since then she "just got totally addicted."
"To watch them in action is indescribable," Emerson said while standing below Primo, who was perched on a ledge in clear sight to the Temple Square visitors walking below.
"Let's face it, most people don't pay much attention," said Bob Walters, watchable-wildlife coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
He said the "greatest show on Earth" was happening at South Temple and Main, and it's free and fascinating.
Peregrine falcons were endangered but are now recovering. They have been clocked at speeds in excess of 175 mph, making them the fastest animal on the planet.
Follow the falcons
O A live webcam of the falcons' nest can be accessed at http://www.wildlife.utah.gov/peregrine
• You can also follow Salt Lake City peregrine falcons on Facebook