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Missing falcon is back in Middleburg

April 22, 2008
By Mary Margaret Pecht, Sentinel reporter,
MIDDLEBURG — Hollywood flew the coop on April 6, but she seems happy to be home now, an exuberant Mike Dupuy said.

The Saker falcon, owned by Dupuy, of Middleburg, was found Sunday in the yard of the Aaron Resnick family in Westfield, N.Y., within sight of Lake Erie.

The bird had escaped from Dupuy’s falcon house at Mike Dupuy Falconry on April 6, without a tracking device or the bells normally used to locate falcons. She wasn’t wearing these items because she wasn’t supposed to be out of the house, Dupuy said. She just swooped out of the door when he opened it, he added.

Dupuy said he received a call from the breeder of the falcon on Sunday, telling him the hawk had been found. The breeder’s name was on a leg band worn by the falcon.

“Actually, the falcon found me and my family. It approached us at a pretty close proximity and we quickly identified that it was a friendly bird.’’ Resnick said.

He said the falcon had spent the night roosting on his rooftop. On Sunday, the Resnick’s cat brought in a mouse from the field. Afraid the bird would hurt the cat, they put the cat in the house, and the falcon swooped down to feast on the abandoned mouse.

“I’m assuming that’s how we came to be pretty good friends, after he had a nice meal,’’ Resnick said.

“We did some homework and learned that it was a falcon. We were trying to read what the bird had located on her foot. Once we saw the band and the fact that she had a tether on, it was obvious she was an animal that was very important to someone, which turned out to be the case.’’

Dupuy said he talked with Resnick, and told him by telephone how to pick up the falcon.

“He called her in on a piece of ham,’’ Dupuy said.

The Resnicks put the falcon in their garage until Dupuy showed up to claim his Saker.

Dupuy said Hollywood appeared very glad to see him, bobbing her head up and down and screaming as she perched on his fist.

“It was very different than the way she interacted with me,’’ Resnick said. “It was obvious a total bond existed there.’’

It was a five-hour trip each way — 281 miles each way by car — but Dupuy and the falcon arrived home to Middleburg at 3 a.m. Monday.

Dupuy said he never lost hope he would find the prized falcon and had sent messages to many falconers through the Internet to be on the lookout for her.

“She’d lost a lot of weight, but it was good to get her back. I was just happy to see her,’’ Dupuy said.

As for the Resnicks ...

“We really enjoyed the experience. It was something very special for me and my family,’’ Resnick said.

Since this was Hollywood’s second long-distance foray into the wild blue yonder — she’d made an unscheduled 365-mile trip to the Virginia-North Carolina border last fall — Dupuy said he probably will keep a radio transmitter on her all the time, just in case she gets the urge to take to the skies on her own, again.

Dupuy and his falcons were featured in the D- section of The Sentinel on Saturday.

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