Share this article

print logo

Falcon at University at Buffalo finds new mate

He wasn’t happy when authorities captured his old lady last month and hauled her away for her crimes.

But it also didn’t take him long to get over her.

In fact, he’s already settled down with a new companion and started a new family.

That’s the latest in the ongoing soap opera of the peregrine falcons – Yankee and BB – who have made their home high above the University at Buffalo South Campus on Main Street for the past several years.

When we last left the two peregrines, BB – the overaggressive mother falcon – was in trouble with the law for dive-bombing unsuspecting pedestrians around the Main Street neighborhood.

That’s why the state Department of Environmental Conservation safely netted her on March 13 and transported her to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

“The male was very agitated – and very vocal,” said Mark Kandel, regional wildlife manager with the DEC. “He made a ruckus. One, to let us know he was upset and the other – whether intentional or otherwise – to let other peregrines know he was available.”

That’s when Dixie, an unattached peregrine, started coming around the nest box atop the 135-foot smokestack at the Mackay Heating Plant on the Main Street campus.

“It took her a couple days to sort of acclimate,” Kandel said, “but within a few days she was using the nest box and ended up laying four eggs over four days.”

And is Yankee the proud father? “Definitely,” Kandel said.

UB – with the help of the DEC – placed the nest box atop the tower in 2008 to help boost the number of peregrines, which are still listed as endangered species.

Dixie’s eggs are expected to hatch by early to mid-May, Kandel said. A few weeks later, DEC specialists will climb to the nest to band the chicks so they can be identified in the future.

But like any good mother peregrine, Dixie may exhibit more aggressive behavior toward people nearby and high above the ground on rooftops to protect her young.

Kandel, however, thinks she will be much less combative than her feisty predecessor BB, who struck at least a dozen people in that neighborhood over the past four years.

“These falcons and their offspring will allow UB to continue to support state wildlife officials in their effort to rebuild New York’s peregrine population,” said Ryan McPherson, UB’s chief sustainability officer.