26 October 2014

Tragedy of Two Birds at CenturyLink Center Omaha

An urban mix of a frantic pigeon, a hungry hawk and the glass facade of a building was vividly indicated by the outcome of their encounter.

There are dozens of Rock Pigeons that occur about the CenturyLink Center Omaha in north downtown. They can be seen flying about on a regular basis, or sitting about someplace they prefer there, every day by someone that cares to take a look.

The many fat pigeons attracted a hungry Cooper's Hawk on Friday, October 24th.

Those pigeons of downtown Omaha have attracted a Cooper's Hawk on more than one occasion prior to this event.

Once the juvenile hawk selected its prey, a chase ensued, with the frantic pigeon in a quick flight along the west wall of the building, as it seeked an escape. When the pigeon darted into what appeared to be a route to safe haven, the hawk followed. The choice by the first bird led to its death when it whacked into the lower extent of glass on the west side of the CenturyLink Center, just south of the convention center entrance. Its pursuer met a similar fate.

The two birds were found next to each other on the southern extent of the west wall of the facility, the results of their encounter obvious when found on Saturday morning. There were two feathery carcasses, not supple, indicating that they had been lying dead upon the concrete for hours before the sunrise visit.

What a tragedy for the young hawk to die in this manner, especially when its death did not have to occur, and would not have happened if the clear glass had been suitably marked and made obvious enough for the keen sight of all avifauna. Both birds would have realized there was an obstruction ahead, and gone a different way.

They did not have this opportunity since the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority -- which manages the Qwest/CenturyLink Center -- has, for years, been indifferent to placing a sufficient number of suitable markings on the glass of the west facade of this building. A few small stickers on the upper portions of the glass are not enough since there have been a multitude of bird deaths documented in detail along this "wall of death" in the past few years.

Before finding the hawk and the pigeon, there were three Savannah Sparrows either disabled or dead a short distance northward on the west side of the center, and they were the first bird-window strikes of another Saturday morning bicycle outing.

The carcasses of the hawk, as well as the sparrows, were disposed of in a suitable manner. And they were not thrown into any trash can as to do so would be a disgrace to the spirit of the winged ones.

There was a Cooper's Hawk flying about TD Ameritrade Park the morning of October 26th, checking out the juncos and sparrows along Mike Fahey Street.

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