Cathedral of Learning falcon dies after collision

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A young peregrine falcon, banded last month atop the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland, died yesterday when it slammed into a Rand Building window and broke its neck.

A person inside the building witnessed the crash at 11:45 a.m. and another person at an ATM, near Fifth Avenue and Craig Street, saw the bird fall dead to the street.

Kate St. John, who observes and tracks Pittsburgh peregrines, said it's the first of 25 born atop the Cathedral of Learning to die. One from the Gulf Tower nest, Downtown, died years ago after crashing into a Gateway Towers window, while another crashed into a city building but survived. It was released after undergoing months of rehabilitation at the Animal Rescue League Wildlife Center in Verona.

The young peregrine, whose parents are Dorothy and E2, had been flying for only 18 days. It had adult size and speed but little experience with the elements. Windows can disorient birds by looking like open holes or reflecting the sky, Ms. St. John said.

"It's very sad because I've spent a lot of time with this family of peregrines, and all these years this is the first time I ever saw one die," she said. "The first year is hardest for these peregrines."

After identifying the banded peregrine, Ms. St. John contacted the Pennsylvania Game Commission and National Aviary officials. She then buried it.


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