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Falcons nest on GI bridge

Downtown Buffalo no longer has an exclusive perch on an unusual peregrine falcon nesting site.

Department of Environmental Conservation officials this spring began seeing falcon activity around the north Grand Island Bridge at a site where New York State Thruway Authority personnel had installed a nesting box eight years ago.

Mark Kandel, a DEC wildlife biologist, suggested two years after it was installed that the nest should be moved higher and farther from the Niagara River's shoreline. It worked.

While DEC officials and bird watchers observed falcon nesting activity this spring, aquatic biologist Mike Wilkinson began noticing osprey activity west of the bridge.

Now, an active osprey nest exists atop a power pole less than a quarter mile west of the falcon nest.

The falcon parents have yet to be identified by leg bandings, said wildlife biologist Connie Adams. But the four chicks, three males and one female, were banded on both legs June 19. "One leg has a silver band and the other has a black and green band, so they should be easy to identify when seen," Adams said.

"We band all falcons that inhabit this area, and it would be interesting to see if the falcon parents were previously banded or if they came here from the wilds," she said of these raptors that migrate to Northern and Central South America.

Chicks that begin successfully flying may forage in the area for a month to six weeks to develop their flying and hunting skills before heading south, she added.

"The falcons' presence is encouraging evidence of their resurgence in New York State, and confirms the success of restoration efforts," said DEC Region 9 Director Abby Snyder.

Adams would like to hear from anyone who has seen these falcons and possibly any osprey that may have fledged from their nests. "It was much easier to spot falcons downtown; they usually perch on building ledges. Seeing these raptors in the Grand Island/Niagara Gorge area may be more difficult," she noted.

Persons seeing either the falcons or the osprey adults and young are encouraged to report those sightings to Connie Adams at the DEC Buffalo office (851-7010).

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Fishing with Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association will host a Fishing Derby to benefit Kevin Guest House.

Twenty charter captains will man boats out of Olcott Harbor on July 17 in hopes of slicing into the biggest of Lake Ontario salmon.

Rob Ray noted that Rick Martin, Rene Robert, Larry Playfair, Daryl Shannon, Derek Smith, Richie Dunn, Jay McKee, Andrew Peters, and Fred Stanfield are just a few of the familiar names that will be slamming salmon into the nets that day.

Each boat will include a captain, mate and Sabres Alumni member, accommodating three anglers. The package includes refreshments and an awards lunch for a $2,000 donation per boat.

For more details, call the Alumni office (775-1120) or visit www.SabresAlumni.com later this week.

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Riverkeeper touring

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper (BNR) has organized several eco-tours. We've missed the boat for the Miss Buffalo Tour today, but Paul Leuchner will explain bird and fish habitats during a "Paddle from East River Wetlands to Beaver Island State Park," outing at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Next Sunday, a "Hike the Outer Harbor" outing begins at 10 a.m.

For details on all BNR events, call 852-7483 or visit: www.bnriverkeeper.org and click "2007 Summer Eco Tours."

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Sharper heads

Lansky Sharpeners, a company which began in Buffalo, produces knife sharpening systems in Henderson, Nev.

Since 1979, the Lansky name has been synonymous with sharpening gear. This year, Lansky produced a device for archers to hone and sharpen broadheads.

The Broadhead Sharpener ($7.99) includes a wrench for removing and tightening heads without touching blade edges with fingers and a bright orange handle, more visible when working in the field. This sharpener is available aT area archery shops and can be checked out at: www.lansky.com.

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Bass-Eye big ones

Jim Kelly and Linda Pellegrino have been added to the celebrity list for the Bass-Eye Challenge set for July 11-12 out of Buffalo Small Boat Harbor.

For details, call 686-9400 or visit: www.basseye.com.

e-mail: willodrs@gmail.com

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