Of Falcons and Friends…

Maybe you heard this already, but last weekend, we had a bit of a missing falcon issue.  If you live in the Lansing area, the media coverage was intense so I doubt you missed this bit of news.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me sum it up for you as simply as I can.

On the afternoon of Friday, August 20th, the peregrine falcon from our education program gave us the slip.  While he was being put back in holding from a demonstration, he got loose.  I wasn’t present for that, but I’m sure it all happened so fast that the details of exactly how he got loose are completely inconsequential.  Over the next few days, we searched the surrounding area of the Zoo for our feathered friend, knowing he wouldn’t travel far.  There were times when staff spotted him and times when we had no idea where he could be.  Since this falcon was born into captivity and still wore part of the demonstration rigging (which was hanging from his legs), we knew over time he was handicapped for survival in the wild.  Staff and volunteers spent a lot of hours at the Zoo working on getting this bird home and on Monday evening they did just that.

Everyone involved has thanked Lansing resident John Wood for having a keen eye to spot the peregrine near Mt. Hope road while out for a bike ride, but I’m going to do it again anyway.  Thanks John!

The reason I’m writing this post isn’t to recap a story many of you have heard dozens of times by now.  I’m writing this because the outpouring of support during the missing falcon weekend was completely awe inspiring.  We received hundreds of calls with possible sightings, questions on spotting the bird and inquiries on how people can help.  The media coverage wasn’t all stories for the sake of news.  They helped us by posting detailed photos of the falcon during broadcasts, letting people know what to look for and who to call.  Our Facebook page was extremely active and served as a great question and answer forum.  A special thanks to all the docents and volunteers who were chiming in to help me manage the activity.

The bottom line is, without our community, we may have never been able to find our peregrine falcon in time.  For that, we thank everyone who called, emailed, posted, or even told their friends about the missing bird.  In every sense of the word, this truly is OUR Zoo.  

Oh and in case you’re curious, the peregrine is very happy to be home and has been munching on his favorite treat – mice!