Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cooper’s Hawk Rescued

A TSA Staffer’s Personal Story

Tuesday morning (January 26) after pulling into my regular parking place on the 8th (top) floor of the parking garage, I immediately saw a large and beautiful bird struggling to find its way toward the sky.  Of course, it had no way of succeeding since the garage is a concrete and glass structure with no openings above the second floor.  I went first to the security desk in the lobby to make sure someone was aware of the bird’s plight and to learn what steps were being taken to safely remove the bird.  Later that day, building management made a call to a city agency but were told the agency doesn’t do this type of work, and in fact, should employees of the management company attempt removal, they would need a permit.

 Some of you will remember the pair of Redtail Hawks that took up residence on the outdoor fire escape of the Society’s offices in Norwood Tower in 1996.  Former TSA employee Gay Patterson developed a keen interest in the hawks’ well-being and began a relationship with a local volunteer group, Austin Wildlife Rescue.  I called Gay early Wednesday and she set wheels in motion that led to the bird being safely lured into a cage and removed from the garage this morning.  Thankfully, this story has a happy ending.

 Ed Somes, the volunteer who drove into downtown Austin from Cedar Park to help, called me just after the rescue.  He told me the bird is a Cooper’s Hawk, described how the job was done, and then confirmed that I work with architects.  He asked me to convey the importance of planning an escape hatch for birds in atriums, parking garages and other tall structures where birds may stray.  If just one window is made operable at the top-most area of the structure, birds will typically (and fairly quickly) find their own way to safety and freedom.  I visited with building management and asked if them to consider retrofitting a window in the garage to prevent future bird entrapments.  We’ll see.

So, considering the role of the Society supporting architects in creating safe, beautiful, sustainable environments, as the new mission statement indicates, remember to design for the safety of Mother Nature and all she provides for our enjoyment.

Gayle Pickering

TSA Senior Director

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