University at Buffalo Crest.

Policy Information

Date Established: 5/25/2012
Date Last Updated:
Category: Environmental, Health and Safety
Responsible Office:
Environment, Health and Safety
Responsible Executive:
Associate Vice President for Facilities

Policy Contents


Falcon Safety - Requirements and Guidelines for Roof Work in Falcon Areas on South Campus


These requirements and guidelines are established to prevent workers on roofs from being harmed by diving peregrine falcons. A nesting box for a pair of peregrine falcons was installed in the tower of the McKay Heating Plant in 2009. The falcons regularly occupy this box for the majority of the year, but are most active during the nesting season. DEC informs UB that the birds have established a regular flight area for hunting and storing food which likely extends to the nearby VA hospital and the Cary/Farber/Sherman Complex. When workers are operating on roof tops in the vicinity of McKay and the regular flight area, they should be aware of the potential hazards posed by the birds. Generally, peregrine falcons are not aggressive towards humans but they can exhibit protective behaviors especially during nesting season.


These requirements and guidelines apply to the buildings which have been observed to be part of the regular flight area of the falcons including:

  • McKay Heating Plant
  • Pharmacy Building
  • BMRC
  • Winspear Service Building
  • Winspear Service Center
  • Howe
  • Clark
  • Diefendorf Annex
  • Cary/Farber/Sherman

Workers may also want to follow these (as guidelines only) on the following buildings:

  • Parker Hall
  • Acheson Annex
  • Diefendorf
  • BRB
  • BEB
  • Hayes Annex Buildings

Applicable Codes

Peregrine Falcons are state endangered species and federally protected migratory birds. They are protected by state and federal laws and the penalty for harming them includes a $5000 fine and/or one year in jail.


Facilities Supervisors

  • Oversee that workers follow the prescribed procedures outlined in this policy including the wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Upon request, analyze the roof top work area to determine the appropriate deterrents such as flags, barriers and broom stands.
  • Report any falcon attacks or near misses to EH&S.

Facilities Workers

  • Follow all procedures outlined in this policy including the wearing of appropriate PPE.
  • Report any falcon attacks or near misses to both the Supervisor and EH&S.


  • Upon request, analyze the roof top work area to determine the appropriate deterrents such as flags, barriers and broom stands.
  • Investigate any falcon attacks or near misses, keep records and report trends.


Nesting Season

The period which is typically from the beginning of May until the end of July of each year.

Regular Flight Area

The area of the south campus encompassing the following buildings: McKay Heating Plant, Pharmacy Building, BMRC, Winspear Service Building, Winspear Service Center, Howe, Clark, Diefendorf Annex, Cary/Farber/Sherman


Recommended PPE for roof work in the regular flight area during all seasons:

  • Long sleeve jackets (of sturdy construction)
  • Safety glasses
  • Hard hats
  • Leather gloves (depending on the type of work to be performed)

Work requirements for roof work in the regular flight area during falcon nesting season:

  • Survey the roof area where you are working. Be familiar with the roof and any exits.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must include: Long Sleeve Jackets, goggles or safety glasses, hard hats (preferably with chin straps).
  • If you are going to be on a roof for a significant period of time > 20 minutes, place a tall broom into an umbrella stand in the area where you are working to serve as a deterrent.
  • All fall protection requirements should be observed and are especially important during nesting season.
  • The area near McKay tower is of special concern and work directly on or near the tower should be pre-approved by EH&S or Facilities Safety & Health Officer.

Non-mandatory measures during falcon nesting season:

  • Go up on the roof with a partner to serve as lookout. Their job is to watch for falcons coming over and coming toward people on the roof. This person has a broom with bristles pointing upward. Never use the broom to strike at the falcons but hold it high to deter them.
  • Erect plastic snow/garden fence above the work area on a series of poles
  • Erect a rim of plastic flags (banners) around the worksite to scare away the birds

Behavioral guidelines for situations where the bird is actively encroaching on the work area:

  • Do not panic, a fall from heights would be far worse than any injury that the bird might inflict
  • Do not look up, exposing ones face to the bird will make one susceptible to getting their face scratched or struck.
  • Do not harm or harass the falcons as they are protected by state and federal laws.
  • To the extent possible, ignore or dismiss the presence of the birds.
  • Never approach the nest or the falcons.
  • If need be, exit the roof and report to EH&S so that these types of falcon behaviors can be recorded and trends are tracked.

Document Management

This procedure shall be reviewed once every year prior to the month of April, or as changes require.

Document Revision History

Revision History
Revision Section(s) Changed Change(s) Made
1 All Reformatted for web 1/2018

Contact Information

Contact An Expert
Department Phone
Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) 716-829-3301
University Police 716-645-2222

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