Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Falcon Flash begins again

March 1 brought the first Falcon Flash newsletter of the year, focusing on the Peregrine Falcons in Cleveland, Ohio. The newsletter is part of the Raptors in the City curriculum. Since 1991, the 12th floor of "Tower City" has hosted a nestbox, and for many years, SW (the female) and Buckeye (the male) raised and fledged young while being monitored in person and via webcam.

Today's newsletter unfortunately bore sad news:

It is with great sadness we report that Buckeye, the male peregrine falcon at this nestsite for the past 12 years, died on November 17, 2009, from injuries that appear to have been caused by a fatal head injury, probably due to collision with a building.

Buckeye was the father of 34 peregrine chicks. He made a wonderful contribution to the future of the species peregrine falcon, which has been recovering from near extinction in the U.S. since the 1970s.

Mr. Harvey Webster of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History suspects that Buckeye's fatal collision might have come during a battle with another male. Buckeye was getting up in years at age 14 and may have been challenged for SW's affections and control of valuable nesting territory. Peregrine falcons are fierce predators, and both males and females will battle to the death over nesting territory and mates.
A new male, identified as Ranger because of his leg bands, has courted SW, and observers say the falcons appear to have bonded. Because Ranger is young, having hatched in 2008, questions come up: Is he mature enough to be a father? Will he know how to hunt well enough to provide for his family?

We'll find out soon. You can sign up for Falcon Flash here.

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