Peregrine falcon chick found dead: Wildlife experts suspect bird was trying to fly

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 11, 2003

One of three peregrine falcon chicks that hatched two months ago has been found dead on the Ironton-Russell bridge.

The bird's death may be attributed to bridge traffic.

"Most likely, the bird was making its first attempt at flight and flew into the roadway and was hit (by a car)," said Chris Smith, wildlife area supervisor for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. "This is disappointing but it's something we take in stride. In the wild, this is a part of life, even though we would like to see all fledglings succeed."

Email newsletter signup

The male bird and his two sisters were hatched on or about April 24, the third set of chicks

born in a habitat box on the bridge. Smith said within six weeks, the baby birds are almost as big as their parents and are ready to try flying.

Coming of age on the bridge presents two distinct challenges for the baby birds: they must learn to fly without being hit by a car on the bridge or falling into the river below. Smith said ODNR officials think other baby birds hatched on the bridge have fallen into the river while trying to learn to fly.

The peregrine falcon is on the endangered species list in Ohio. The bird family has attracted local attention in the past because of the parents' efforts to protect their young. The bridge walkway has been closed to foot traffic for brief periods in the spring for the last two years because of reports that the adult birds tried to attack people. Wildlife experts say the adult birds are trying to protect their young while they are learning to fly.