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Bird Watching Stories
(Go Back to Wild Bird Page Contents)
» No Barbeque this Summer 
» Barn Swallow "Mama"  
» Just How Does a Bird Eat Bees?  
» My Birdwatching Adventures in Costa Rica
 » Just Another Golden Eagle  
 » Four Birds in One Tree: 
A Few Days of Birdwatching in England
» Four Calling Birds??? 
» A Very Unique Cardinal 
 » Narcissism or Territorial
Defense: Macho Cardinal
» The Last Companion Carolina Paroquet 
» The Ever-Popular Chickadee  
» Convergent Evolution: Meadowlark and Longclaw 
» Barrel Cactus Confrontation 
» Galahs Playing Around and Around and Around ...  
» Who Made Up This Stuff?
Bird Call Mnemonics
» Mesmerizing a Goldfinch 
» The Best Mimic?  
» Prairie Chickens and Woodcocks:
Missouri Ornithology
» Mob Mentality: Who is Really in Control of the Skies?
» The Owl Who Sat Down Beside Me 
» Meeting Hot Shot: The Toddler Peregrine Falcon  
» Seeing 'Sea Parrots'
in Alaska
 » A Rare and Unusual Bird 
Meeting Roger Tory Peterson
» Raven Showoffs 
» Reddish Egrets and Canopy Feeding 
 »  Robins and Worms 
Hear, See, Smell, or Feel?
» Hospital Hallucination  
 » What Are You Doing Here? Scissortail Flycatcher
» Wild Bird "Attacks": Just Misunderstandings? 
» Drunken Waxwings and an Unusual Hummingbird Feeder
 »  Aransas in the Fog:
Whooping Cranes
 » Acorn Woodpecker Defending its Stash
» Why Woodpeckers Don't Get Headaches: Built in Shock Absorber 

The Toddler Peregrine Falcon at Sapsucker Woods 
by Sally Blanchard

I used to sculpt birds for a living and was lucky enough to have a showing of them at the Fuertes Library of the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University in 1976. This was a time when the Peregrine Falcon's population was very low because pesticides created problems with egg viability. At the time, Cornell University with other organizations was working to increase their populations. They were using similar falcons like the Lanner Falcon from Europe, Africa and Asia as foster parents. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the facility and to see the various nesting falcons from afar.

When I was visiting Sapsucker Woods, a baby Peregrine Falcon from the breeding program was kept back to be used to artificially inseminate hens when he grew up. They named him Hot Shot. It was OK if he remained tame and some people were allowed to handle him. I was sitting on the ground with two people from the Lab and Hot Shot was in the middle. Although he was just old enough to walk around on his feet a bit, he still seemed more comfortable hobbling around on his hocks. I was in awe of this energetic little guy who was not the least bit uncomfortable with people. I knew it was quite an honor to get to know him up close and personal. He did a combination of a wobble hop over towards me and pooped on my shoe. Now how many people can claim that a baby peregrine pooped on their shoe? 

Some 35 years later, with the involvement of the Laboratory of Ornithology and other organizations, the Peregrine Falcons have made a wonderful comeback and can now be found throughout the United States. They are especially common hanging out on the tall buildings in the big cities where they thrive on pigeon du jour. Now when I see a Peregrine, I often wonder if the bird is is one of Hot Shot's descendants and an example of the 'work' he did to perpetuate his species?


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