Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Bruce the Peregrine released
At appx. 7:45 this morning, July 5, 2011, the first of three Peregrine Falcons was released in downtown Chattanooga. The bird was named Bruce, in honor of Bruce Adams (who passed away last October 18th). Bruce's wife, Judith Adams-Dewitt was present to see her husband's namesake take flight. At around 7:15, the release door was lowered by Jeff Boehm, who has been caring for and feeding Bruce since his arrival, and Ken Dubke, legendary local birder who has been instrumental in getting a Peregrine Falcon release program restarted in downtown Chattanooga. A number of people were present, including officials from First Tennessee Bank and the wonderful building maintenance guys that helped get the release box in place and secured it down (to make sure it wouldn't be blown away during a storm). Also on hand were JC and Rex Lisle (who was celebrating his birthday) from Lookout Mountain Flight Park. Rex and JC were designated photographers for S.O.A.R. The local NBC affiliate WRCB, sent a cameraman to cover the release and ran a quick story, with excellent shots of Bruce, on the 5:30 news. After the box was opened, Bruce began to notice that the front was now clear for takeoff. After a number of minutes of head-bobbing, wing flapping, and one excited jump to the top of the box, Bruce made his way to the front of the box and onto the now opened door. After a minute or so of deliberation, Bruce took flight. The first few seconds were a little uncertain, but Bruce found his wings and flew in a few circles, first towards the Bank of America building and eventually found his way over to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee. I tracked him down, via a radio transmitter (place on him the previous night, along with a Federal leg band put on by David Vogt), and with the helpful staff and security, (Thanks Cindy, Carl and Lucas!!!) I was able to get a visual sighting of Bruce on Building #3. He actually flew down from #3 into a central plaza, where he bumped a window. We got down to the plaza, expecting the worse, only to find Bruce in some vegetation. Once he saw me, he took off at a 60 degree angle and flew back between Building #3 and #4 and returned to the top of building number three. As I write this, it is 7:30 in the p.m. and I am headed back to downtown Chattanooga to search for Bruce to make sure he is safe for the night. Thanks to everyone for your help!!! By the way, on Friday, provided that everything goes as planned, Bruce's brothers at Rock City will be released as well. This mainly depends on the fitting of the satellite telemetry. Stay tuned....
p.s. at 8:30 p.m. Bruce's telemetry signal was still coming from Building #3. I'll check on him tomorrow morning.