What is that swooping down from the Rhodes State Office Tower? Who wants Superman when we get peregrine falcons? You may have been watching the nest via webcams this spring, but now they are ready to fledge. Just like our young ‘uns, sometimes these fledglings encounter rough landings – it’s part of growing up, you know. So, this means you might see a distressed bird on the sidewalk, and we want you to know how to help. (Pssst…help us spread the word with all you peeps, too.)
Three peregrine falcon chicks hatched this spring, and they usually leave the nest in early June. Heck, you might have already seen them soaring through Pearl Alley by now. Like we said, this flying business can be tricky. Sometimes the birds unexpectedly fly into office windows and fall to the ground. The folks at Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife expect this, and they’re here to assist. Here’s what you can do to help:
1. If a peregrine falcon is on the ground or captured, confine it in a pet taxi or vented cardboard box and keep the bird in a quiet, dark location. Please don’t take the bird to the vet or try to administer any kind of first aid.
2. Confirm the bird is a peregrine falcon and get the leg band codes if possible. Peregrines are crow-sized (15-18 inches tall) and have a sharp, curved beak. The young falcons have a silver metal band on the right leg and a black and red band on the left leg. Note that some pigeons also have leg bands; however, pigeons have pink or reddish legs (falcons have yellow feet and legs).
3. Call ODNR, Wildlife Division. During business hours, the number is 614-644-3925. Press Option 4 and ask for Donna Daniel or any other wildlife management staff member. If it’s after business hours or on the weekends, call the ODNR Radio Room at 614-799-9538.
The Midwest Peregrine Falcon Restoration program began to help these birds, which were placed on the endangered species list in 1970. If you would like to learn more about the program or see the birds in action, check out the webcam. You may want to bookmark the site since there will be more next action next spring when birds will lay new eggs, but in the meantime, the website provides tons of cool facts about these magnificent birds.