Jun 14 2012
On Tuesday morning I got a phone call from University of Pittsburgh Facilities Management that made my heart fall to the floor.
Phil Hieber said that an injured baby falcon, possibly a peregrine, had been found at the Posvar Hall garage. The people who found it had put it in a box and wanted to know what to do.
My first thought was, “Oh no!” and then I remembered that people often mistake other birds of prey for young peregrines. And I reminded myself that I’d seen all three juveniles high on the Cathedral of Learning only two hours earlier and they had not been lower than the 30th floor for days.
I couldn’t afford to leave work Tuesday morning but if this was one of our “juvies” I would drop everything and run to Pitt. How could I tell it was a peregrine over the phone?
Was the bird banded? Phil said it was not so I knew it wasn’t one of our peregrines. (Whew!)
I urged them to call the ARL Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Verona, 412-793-6900, and drive the bird over there. Then I emailed Jill Argall at the Wildlife Center to let her know an injured bird was on its way, and I asked her to let me know what it was.
Later that day Jill replied that it was a kestrel and it was doing fine.
Indeed it was a “baby” (small) falcon.
American kestrels are our smallest falcon so they do resemble peregrines. I know they’re in Oakland because I’ve seen them on campus. Last Saturday an adult male kestrel flew by the Cathedral of Learning and perched on the flagpole at Carnegie Museum.
I’m glad to know the kestrel is doing well. Sighs of relief all around!
(photo of a kestrel on a flagpole (though not at Pitt) by Brian Herman)