A falcon family has taken up residence on a building in the Richardson Olmsted Complex, and the mother is making sure no humans disrupt that.
Two peregrine falcons and their nest of chicks have lived on the fourth story of Building 10 for several weeks. The female is aggressive, protective and has swooped down and attacked passers-by who walked too close to the north side of Building 10.
She has attacked two security guards – one of whom she has hit several times. One day, she cut a security guard’s head with her claws. He had to receive a rabies shot.
Peregrines are known to prey on birds and bats in mid-flight. They hunt from above, dropping into a steep, swift dive after seeing their prey. Their dives can reach 200 mph an hour, according to National Geographic.
The Richardson Center Corp. oversees the development of the Richardson Olmsted Complex, located on Forest Avenue next to SUNY Buffalo State. The 140-year-old complex is on the grounds of Buffalo Psychiatric Center.
After the security guard was injured, the staff took action, said Monica Pellegrino Faix, the executive director of the Richardson Center Corp. They went to the Department of Environmental Conservation and learned the falcon swoops and attacks because she feels her nest of chicks is threatened.
The DEC said the chicks will fly on their own come early July, and Pellegrino Faix said the corporation wants to allow the peregrines to stay until then.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the species from its federal list of threatened and endangered species in 1999, according to its website.
Peregrine falcons became endangered in the United States in the mid-20th century.
Because of breeding programs, the populations are strong again, National Geographic reported.
Pellegrino Faix said, hopefully, the female becomes less aggressive when her chicks leave their nest.
“We agreed with our closest neighbors that we would like to see the falcons stay in their nest and that until early July we will just be a little more protective and send precautions out to people visiting the site.”
She added she hasn’t heard of anyone getting attacked in three weeks.
No patients from Buffalo Psychiatric Center have been affected, according to spokeswoman Sue Joffe.
In the meantime, the Richardson Center Corp. is trying to warn complex employees, neighbors from Buffalo Psychiatric Center and SUNY Buffalo State and tourists to avoid the north end of the complex and Building 10 in particular. The corporation posted signs around a fence that blocks the entirety of the complex’s north end.
Security guards now avoid walking under the nest on the north side of Building 10.
Tourists are now directed to enter through Building 45 instead of 10 to avoid the falcons, according to Faix.
Buildings 9, 10 and 45, all next to one another, have been open for public and private tours for three years.
About 3,000 people visit the sites each year to learn about the architectural, mental health and historical features.
The Richardson Olmsted Complex’s historic buildings are undergoing a renovations to become a hotel, conference space and an architecture center.