Male juvenile falcon update
The Richmond male juvenile falcon found dead on June 21 appears to have died as a result of a collision with the James Monroe building. A June 25 necropsy by the state wildlife veterinarian did not reveal any fractures or signs of trauma. However, the body of the bird was in poor condition due to exposure to hot weather following its death, so that any signs of internal hemorrhaging would not have been detectable. The falcon was estimated to have died within 24 hrs of its having been discovered in the early morning of June 21. Although the falcon was thin, this is not atypical for juvenile birds that have recently come off the nest and are expending a lot of energy in practicing to fly and other activities. Evidence of the juvenile having recently fed was further testament that the bird’s body condition was not likely to have contributed to its death.
Ultimately the necropsy did not document evidence of the bird having collided with a building. However, observations at the scene when the bird was discovered, including the bird’s proximity to the building, lead us to conclude that a collision was implicated in the death of the falcon. The site of the incident is somewhat surprising, as the reflectivity of the glass façade of the James Monroe building is lower than that of other buildings in the downtown Richmond area, such that it is unclear what circumstances contributed to this unfortunate event.