Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cleveland's Loss Hits Close to Home

Got word today that Buckeye (*R/K), the adult male from the Terminal Tower nest in Cleveland died on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009. He was found on the sidewalk in Cleveland with injuries consistent with a building/window collision.

This makes news in Columbus because he fledged from "our" nest in 1996--one of 4 young produced that year (all males!). 1996 was notable in my mind for two reasons: it was the first year I was in charge of monitoring the nest in Columbus and it was also the first year of the Columbus FalconCam! The adult pair was Aurora and Bandit. About a week after fledging Buckeye was found grounded. He was stablized then shipped to the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center. He had a small fracture, however, it had healed by the time the falcon reached Minnesota and he was able to be returned to Columbus for release a week later. At the time, due to the peregrines being classified as an endangered species, Northwest Airlines shipped them for free!

Over the years I have accumulated a lot of falcon memories from working with the species in Columbus. With so many birds coming through the program there are some I don't remember at all. But one thing I will always remember is releasing Buckeye on July 22, 1996, after he was shipped back. I was with Sara Jean Peters a great mentor to me who is now retired from the Division of Wildlife. We were on the 41st floor of the Rhodes Tower on the east side of the building (where the hack box was for those of you who have followed our falcon program from the beginning). I set him down in a corner of the balcony area and backed away. He composed himself then jumped up on the ledge and looked at us long enough for Sara to snap a photo. (I know I still have that photo somewhere, albeit a 35mm slide). It was very exciting 2 years later when he showed up at Case Western Reserve, then assumed the Terminal Tower territory in 2000. He's had his own share of experiences over the years producing 34 young in 9 years. This photo from Scott Wright: