Published June 19, 2014
Bird lovers can exhale.
Yankee, the male peregrine falcon nesting on the South Campus, has found a new mate. What’s more, the female—bird enthusiasts have named her “Dixie”—has produced four eggs.
“The University at Buffalo is delighted that Yankee has found a new partner,” says Ryan McPherson, UB’s chief sustainability officer. “These falcons and their offspring will allow UB to continue to support state wildlife officials in their effort to rebuild New York’s peregrine population.”
The pairing ends weeks of speculation about the fate of Yankee, who along with a previous mate named BB, became celebrities of sort after UB officials in 2010 installed a live video feed of their nest atop MacKay Heating Tower.
Last month, state Department of Environmental Conservation biologists placed BB in a permanent care facility after she showed unusually aggressive behavior, repeatedly swooping down on people on and near the South Campus. At the time, biologists predicted Yankee would find a new mate or be displaced by another pair of peregrine falcons.
Dixie arrived after BB’s departure and laid her first egg April 3. Three eggs followed. They are expected to start hatching around May 12. Followers of the birds can watch the action via live stream from UB’s Falcon Cam.
While Dixie has not displayed the aggressive behavior that BB did, McPherson nonetheless advised people on and near the South Campus to use caution when going on rooftops or walking near the tower. Peregrine falcons—protective by nature, especially when caring for eggs and fledglings—are known to swoop down on people but seldom cause injury.
Threatened by pesticides, peregrine falcons were considered an endangered species by the federal government until 1999 when recovery efforts prompted their removal from the list. Because they still are listed as endangered in New York, the state and partners such as UB are working to boost their numbers. Since 2010, 15 fledglings have hatched at UB.