by Kenn Chapman
On June 25, 1992, a plane arrived at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport in Akron, Ohio, with an unusual cargo.There were two large kennel carriers containing seven newly hatched (39-41 days old) peregrine falcon chicks - 6 male and 1 female. They were driven to the Division of Wildlife District Office in Akron, and after a few hours in a quiet room they were given a small press conference, and photos were taken of the winners of the "Name the Falcons" contest along with "their" bird as it was named. The chicks were marked and banded, then placed in a darkened room where they spent the night.
The following morning, the birds were moved to the lobby of the Ohio Edison building where a major press conference was held. Shortly after, the falcons were transported to the hack box located on the 20th floor roof of the building, where they were confined for six days.
At 6 am on the morning of July 1st, all seven falcons were placed in the hide and arrangements were made for their release. At 7:29 the hide was opened and the first chick came out at 7:33 and began feeding. By 7:36 all falcons were out and feeding except Akros and Pounce. By the end of the first day, all falcons had eaten. Also, they had all made short flights about the Ohio Edison building and successfully returned to roost by sunset.
July 2 - During the course of the day, all seven falcons remained near the hack site with short flights around the area. They all appeared to be good, strong fliers but had difficulty controlling their landings, especially onto small perches. In the evening, all seven falcons returned home to roost.
July 3 - The falcons seemed to expand their territories and were now found roosting on buildings within several blocks of the hack site. They worked almost continually at developing their skills, and by evening all seven birds returned to roost on the Ohio Edison building.
July 4 - The falcons spent the day perfecting their flying skills, and paid little attention to the noise and crowds at ground level involved in the 4th of July festivities.
During the second week, the falcons had significantly enlarged their range and produced incredible aerial displays and games of tag, flying higher and for longer periods.
July 16 - Pounce was seen eating a sparrow, apparently making the kill himself, thus becoming the first peregrine observed to capture and consume avian prey.
During the fourth week, it was apparent the falcons were eating on their own due to a decrease in the amount of quail being eaten and remains of other types of birds being found. All seven falcons were seen performing complex aerial displays, with many chases and attempts to capture prey taking place.
Over the next several weeks, the falcons continued to hunt and play, returning every evening to the hack site where food in diminishing quantities was waiting for them. The first falcon to disappear was last seen on August 9. By September 7, only Pounce and Challenger remained in the area.
September 3 - Pounce returned to the hack site after an absence of five days, thereby suggesting that Pounce was finding food away from the hack site. However, he did force Challenger to relinquish a quail which he consumed himself.
September 20 - A maintenance employee reported observing 2 to 3 falcons chasing a flock of chimney swifts. He said one bird had green on its wings (most likely Challenger or Pounce). These falcons never landed at the hack site and eventually flew out of sight. This was the last confirmed observation of the falcons in the area of the hack site.
November 22 - Pounce was found in a residential area in Windsor ON. His right humerus was broken as a result of an unknown collision. Pounce's broken wing was repaired on Nov 24, 1992 at the University of Guelph, Veterinary Clinic. After four months of recuperation and flight training, Pounce was released to the wild on April 9, 1993 at Beamer Conservation Area, Grimsby ON.
Pounce was not heard of again until March, 1995, when he appeared in downtown Toronto, accompanied by Victoria. Where the two met is unknown, but what happened as a consequence of that meeting is documented throughout the rest of this site.
Material for this article was provided by:
Sara Jean Peters, Education Officer,
Division of Wildlife,
Ohio Department of Natural Resources,
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