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David Baxter

Mar 26, 2004
Cornwall cordons off area under falcon 'attacks'
by Megan Gillis. Ottawa Citizen
July 13, 2018

A Cornwall neighbourhood has been under attack by divebombing falcons for several weeks. Alan S. Hale / Postmedia

A pair of nesting Merlin falcons defending their four fledgelings has so terrorized people around a Cornwall intersection that the city has cordoned off the area and posted warning signs.

They’ve been dive-bombing people at the busy intersection of McConnell and Ninth streets, a few kilometres from downtown, for weeks and attacking staff of the Cornwall Community Hospital as they took breaks outside the building to the point they were afraid to go outside, the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder reported.

They also swooped at people coming in and out of the entrance to the CCH Community Addiction and Mental Health Centre.

“When the falcons started showing up at the hospital, I didn’t know what to do. I had never dealt with a situation like this,” recalled Alan Greig, vice-president of support services for the hospital.

“My staff have been shielding themselves with umbrellas.”

The Ministry of Natural Resources was called in for a cure.

A falconer was called in to assess the situation earlier this week and concluded that the fledgelings were just starting to test their wings and were between six and 10 days from being ready to leave the nest.

The adults, meanwhile, are protecting them although a ministry pokeswoman said that “this type of aggressive behaviour from Merlins is not common.”

The falconer tried – unsuccessfully – to catch the attacking birds, Grieg told the newspaper, but the mama gave the human interloper a wide berth.

“The bird was too smart,” Grieg said. “She saw the net as was like ‘I’m not going down there.’”
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