The Falcon Returns – Life and Death on the 46th Floor

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Whatever post I had been envisioning to be cobbled from birding the last two weekends or downtown forays during the week has been usurped by Mbres360, the young Peregrine Falcon from my last post.

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This morning began very birdy up on the 46th floor. My coworkers drew my attention to a female Golden-Shafted Flicker that had apparently struck the building. She was lying right outside the window on the balcony or ledge down the hall from my office. She looked perfect, except that she was dead. I don’t have it in me to photograph a dead bird; it seems somehow disrespectful. Yet I would volunteer to get her to the Field Museum, where she might be gutted and stuffed. They would do so respectfully, and keep track of her death in their records. If there was a way to get the building maintenance to open the window, I wanted to deliver the Flicker to the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors and the Field Museum. I ran back to my office and that’s when Kim called to me and said, “Lisa, he’s back.”

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Mbres360 was indeed back. The closer pictures are shot unfortunately through blinds, but still it was easy to see his bands and confirm his identity. He seems to have taken a liking to our rookery-like tower. And he looks bigger and more ferocious than last week.

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After I took these pictures, the Flicker Drama was continuing. I ran back to the other balcony where the maintenance guys had just removed the Flicker into a black plastic bag and it seemed inevitable they would throw it in the trash. Leslie, our office manager, put in a call to the management office to ask them to hold the Flicker until a collision monitor could pick it up. I called Bird Collision Monitors and asked them to introduce themselves to building security; and then the Flicker should be turned over to them. I never heard back, so all I can hope is that they were able to rescue the Flicker from a dumpster burial.

When I went back to Kim’s office the falcon was gone, but Kim said he was after a smaller bird that had also disappeared. Mbres360 has probably figured out he can get an easy meal by looking for stunned birds colliding with our building. He would not be interested in a dead bird, however. Personally I wish him luck, because it seemed way too much trouble to remove the Flicker for an uncertain outcome. I shudder to think what it would have been like to try to rescue a bird that was still alive under those circumstances. Not that I wouldn’t try…

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16 thoughts on “The Falcon Returns – Life and Death on the 46th Floor

    • Thanks, Bob! I’m sorry to take pictures through glass and blinds, but to have the falcon that close and with the benefit of his youthful unawareness is, well, my reward for coming downtown… 🙂

    • Oh, definitely he can see us. That close to the window I really don’t think he’s missing anything. What I wonder about is how much these urban birds that have been banded at a young age imprint with some idea of human beings.

  1. I never suspected this would become a recurring story. Cool! I’m amazed the flicker would be flying so high, I always see them and think of them as more of a local bird but I guess like all migratory birds they need to fly high and make time in the fall.

    • I didn’t think I’d see the falcon again either! As it turns out he was sighted briefly yet again this past week by my coworkers on the other side, and then left his calling card where the flicker was: a woodpecker’s wing.

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