Photo by Kevin Rybczyński
Photo by Kevin Rybczyński

The Public Falcon Enters Retirement

by / Sep. 14, 2015 11am EST

Last spring as the early feathered migrants began returning to the Niagara frontier, I noticed the striking images of a peregrine falcon from the prodigious @buffalony Instagram user, Kevin Rybczyński. It was this image that really stopped me in my tracks, that of a falcon seemingly suspended in mid-air with its dangerous talons extended slightly forward and its fearsome head slightly cocked:


A photo posted by Kevin Rybczyński (@buffalony) on


The peregrine falcon that Rybczyński captured atop the Statler Towers was Ojibwa. Named after the Native American tribe of the same name, Ojibwa was born in Ohio in 2003 and banded there by the DEC before establishing himself in downtown Buffalo by 2008. Like most birds of prey, peregrines have a mortality rate as high as 70 percent in their first year, but Ojibwa managed to live 12 years and father 29 chicks. Here’s the cover of The Public from April 29 that we printed with Rybczyński’s enthusiastic permission, a more majestic version Ojbiwa complete with extended wing feathers that recall fingers:

Last week, Ojibwa was discovered on a Buffalo balcony with an injured wing, unable to fly. The SPCA—who features adoptable pets in every week’s Public Market classifieds—has taken custody of the bird and had to remove its wing. Ojibwa will never fly again, but will instead be used for educational purposes. Peregines have a life expectancy around 15 years in the wild, but with meals now much easier to come by, Ojibwa may have a long and fruitful retirement ahead of him as a spokesperson for his species, and for all raptors and urban wildlife.