Dorothy, the matriarch peregrine at the Cathedral of Learning, is 15 years old and no longer fertile but she’s fledged 42 youngsters and has many descendants. Last weekend Karen Lang and I traveled to Medina Raptor Center to visit her oldest granddaughter.
Pittstop has lived at the Raptor Center in Spencer, Ohio ever since she was found with an injured wing in North Olmsted on September 12, 2003. Though her injury happened in September, she’d been flying for only two months. She hatched in early June because her parents had had such an eventful spring.
Louie (Dorothy’s son) was only a year old that spring when he fought and killed Boris at the Gulf Tower and left Boris’ body in camera view. After the dust settled Louie and Tasha (a wild-born female who claimed the Gulf Tower in 1998) paired up and laid four eggs. “Pittstop” was born in Pittsburgh and stopped in Ohio when she apparently hit a building.
Here, Annette Piechowski holds Pittstop high while she tells her story. You can see that Pittstop’s wing is not quite right … but that’s not why she’s unreleasable.
When her wing first healed Pittstop looked good in the flight cage and on the creance cord but she was stopped by incapacitating seizures. They’re related to her injury but no one knows how. Sometimes they’re mild, sometimes grande mal, so she’s on medication to control them. Evidently Pittstop knows when a seizure is coming on. Annette says she gets a faraway look on her face and flies down to the ground before the seizure happens.
Because of the seizures Pittstop does her educational work at the Raptor Center where she can receive immediate attention (and not alarm the public). She’s a great peregrine ambassador. Here she shows her concentration working with Toni McNamara.
I’ve sponsored Pittstop for many years so I was anxious to see how she’s doing. The last time I saw her she was still in juvenile plumage. Here we had a little reunion.
Then Pittstop had a message for me though I couldn’t hear it. (She silently opened her beak.)
Later Annette Piechowski, Toni McNamara and Jackie Cabonor gave us a great tour of the Raptor Center and showed us the many educational birds: owls, hawks, more falcons and Migisi the bald eagle. I’ll be blogging about these beautiful birds in the near future.
Thank you to Laura Jordan and everyone at Medina Raptor Center for the good work you do for raptors and for taking such good care of Pittstop.
It was great to see Dorothy’s oldest granddaughter.
(photos from Kate St. John’s camera taken by Kate St. John, Toni McNamara and Jacki Cabonor)