Distinctly Downtown: Peregrine Falcon Rescue

It’s a beautiful Friday morning in Downtown Akron. The clean and safe ambassadors have just headed out to begin their daily duties. Amy heads over to Cascade Plaza to fill up the big water tank so she can start watering the planters and hanging baskets. Darrell heads over to give her a hand when I suddenly get a call on the radio.

“Clean 3 to Ops 1,” I answer and Darrell begins to describe the situation. He has come across a juvenile peregrine falcon in the plaza. It is hopping around and looks like it might be injured, so he is keeping people away from it. Upon hearing the news I tell him that I will get on the phone and call the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division.

No one is in this early, so I leave a detailed message for them and ask them to call me back. I then head over to Cascade Plaza to see what I can do to help.

Just as I show up at cascade plaza I see the bird standing on top of one of the walls that surround the plaza with Darrell carefully watching it. As I approach from a safe distance the bird sees me and begins to hop frantically toward me. I am not sure what to make of this so I back away towards Darrell. He tells me that the bird did the same thing to him. There are many bystanders standing in the distance watching the scene.

The bird seems nervous and suddenly lifts off but only getting about 10 feet off the ground it starts heading toward Lock 4. We are thinking maybe he will fly back up to the nest, but he is not gaining any altitude and he is approaching the side of the Civic Theater pretty quickly.

He then brushes against the wall and goes down. Darrell and I hustle to get over to see where he landed, when we are joined by Tommy from the One Cascade Building. Tommy is carrying a pair of heavy gloves and a box. As we head down the steps of Lock 4 I see a guy on a bike at the bottom near the canal railing. “Did you see a falcon land down here?” I said. He replied that it landed along the edge of the canal. Sure enough, there it was.

Tommy says he is going in to get it, and get it back to the roof. Tommy has had some experience with these birds over the years. He tells me how six years ago, while he was on top of the building, one dived and hit him in the head, cutting him badly. All that aside Tommy fully intends to get this bird back to safety. As he climbs over the railing to get into the canal I hold his box for him. Once in he slowly approached the falcon. I
was sure that the falcon would either fly off or at least try to move away. Nope, that bird just stood there as Tommy lowered the box over it, and gently scooped him up.

Once in the box, Tommy worked to get the lid closed while the falcon expressed how displeased it was with the whole situation. He got back across to the railing and handed me the box so he could climb back over the railing. As I held the box I could feel the bird fluttering around inside. Soon it would be back home safe and sound.

The juvenile falcons were just tagged in early June, and so far two of them have lost their lives. It is not normal for them to be at ground level so if you see one please keep your distance but alert someone. You can call the ambassador line at (330)706-7383 or ODNR Wildlife division at (330) 644-2293.

Wayne Weese
Operations Manager
Downtown Akron Partnership

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