BB – the over-aggressive mother falcon who ruled the skies over the University at Buffalo South Campus the past several years – is done dive-bombing unsuspecting victims around the Main Street neighborhood.
Wildlife specialists from the state Department of Environmental Conservation on Wednesday morning safely netted the female peregrine falcon and took it to a wildlife refuge, after two more reports of her swooping down on pedestrians earlier this month.
In one case, a UB employee suffered head lacerations, officials said.
“Unfortunately, we had to remove BB before she hurt somebody severely,” said Mark Kandel, regional wildlife manager with the DEC.
“This type of behavior among peregrine falcons is unprecedented,” he said. “By placing the bird with a rehabilitator, we will have prevented it from potentially harming someone and vice versa.”
In 2008, UB – with help from the DEC – installed a nesting box atop the 135-foot smokestack at the Mackay Heating Plant on campus, after peregrines were spotted using the ledge. Later, the university installed a webcam to promote understanding of the birds, which are still listed as endangered in New York State.
BB took up residence at UB four years ago and with her mates – there have been a couple of them over the years – produced 15 offspring, Kandel said.
However, peregrines protecting their nesting chicks or eggs are known to act combatively toward people nearby and high above the ground on rooftops.
But BB has a history of being feisty, particularly against pedestrians passing by.
There have been more than a dozen reports of people struck by the 2½-pound peregrine over the past four years, and each year she has extended her territory, Kandel said.
“Each year she started earlier and has been more aggressive,” Kandel said. “This year, she’s still weeks away from having eggs, but she’s still going after people on the ground.
“It reached the point that if she’s this aggressive now, it’s just going to get worse as she gets eggs, so we made the difficult decision to remove her,” Kandel said. “There’s a point where you have to put people and human safety first.”
The DEC is going to keep the nesting box at UB and expects her companion, Yankee, will find a new mate or else another pair of falcons will move in.