I just can’t escape aspects of Rochester.

As I was leaving my final Social Psychology class, I was surprised by a familiar call.

kak, kak, kak, kak1

Two things happened. First, like Pavlov’s dog, I was gripped by an instinctual response: HIT THE FLOOR and watch the skies. Thankfully I only did the latter. Secondly, I was struck with the thought “I know I know that sound.” While I scanned the skies it hit me: a Peregrine Falcon.

But that was crazy. I knew there was a Cooper’s Hawk on campus. But a Peregrine? My mind must be playing tricks on me. Then suddenly there it was again:

kak, kak, kak, kak

And it wasn’t just me hearing it. Matt, another MAPP’er, walked up to me and said “there must be a hawk around here.” I resisted the urge to bird-geek out all over him.

Still there was nothing to be seen.

A couple hours pass. I decide to head over to the Pub, the campus bar, to work on my thesis. And that’s when I spot it: a bird passing overhead. I watch as it seems to “swim” over me using just the tips of it’s wings. Its a flight pattern I’ve seen countless times: a Peregrine Falcon. And a big one too (most likely female). It lands on the Rockerfeller Chapel2.

So I hightail it back to my car and pick up binoculars3. And sure enough, there it is, as clear as day. While it’s not Mariah (scroll down memory lane for a good shot or two of the falcons) or any of the Kodak kin, it’s nice to know that the species is here in Chicago as well.

Plus it’s getting me a little homesick.

1 – If you’re interested in the exact sound, or to see a Peregrine in action, check out a video I got a few years ago using a Kodak MC3 camera of Mariah, one of the Peregrines @ Kodak, here.

2 – It’s an ongoing UChicago joke that only a Rockerfeller would consider this a ‘chapel’

3 – Yes, I now carry binoculars in my car for just such situtations. I never intended to be a birder… I blame kodak.