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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Notes from a Falconer

In addition to his work as a NYC firefighter and wildlife rehabilitator, Bobby works at the airport protecting airline passengers from various runway hazards.

I received the following note last week:

From: Robert Horvath
Subject: An Average Day of Work at Kennedy Airport for Falconry Environmental Services

Any given day while working as a falconer at Kennedy I'll see kestrels, peregrines, osprey, jackrabbits (yep, urban legend they escaped from a shipment there over 50 years ago) and muskrat, just to name of few. Definitely makes it an adventure every day not knowing what I'll encounter there. And it isn't even migration time yet. It's right off Jamaica Bay where I'm driving on the perimeter roads daily protecting the runways and taxiways. A few weeks ago it was turtle day and I assisted 14 diamondback terrapins to safety who came out to lay eggs there. [...]

I did a little jackrabbit research to try and determine which species may be surviving at the airport. Without a rear view photo of the species in question I could only narrow it down to a White-tailed or Black-tailed Jackrabbit. Based strictly on the open, grassland habitat, I'm guessing that it is more likely a Black-tailed Jackrabbit. White-taileds are generally found in mountainous regions. It is also interesting to learn that jackrabbits (or "hares") are not related to our Eastern Cottontails.


Rob Jett said...

Christina just sent me this info:

Legend has it that Black-tailed Jackrabbit escaped from a JFK shipment and has been living around the airport since the 1950s. Read the last paragraph:

And here:

"The black-tailed jackrabbit (native to South West USA) survives in the immediate J.F.K. Airport area after apparently escaping from a shipping box en route to a game farm in the 1950's."

Jeremiah Moss said...

what an amazing job this guy's got