Bob Downing

Downtown Akronís legendary resident male peregrine falcon is dead.


Bandit, a fixture in Akron for 16 years, was killed when he flew into the side of a bus shelter on South Main Street early Tuesday, said Laura Graber, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resourcesí Division of Wildlife.


She said Bandit apparently flew into the shelter at Bowery Avenue in pursuit of a mourning dove, hit the glass and broke his neck. The dove was still in his talons, she said.


Bandit came to Akron from Detroit in July 1996. J.P., a female, showed up in April 1997. They mated in early 1998.


At that time, they were the eighth nesting pair of peregrine falcons in Ohio.


In 2001, Bandit hooked up with Chesapeake, another Detroit bird, after J.P. disappeared.


Bandit and his mates were responsible for 48 eggs in Akron since 1998; 31 birds fledged or left the nest on their own. The nesting box is on the 11th floor of the Landmark Building in downtown Akron.


ďThatís sad news. Iím sorry we lost him, but what a productive bird,Ē said an admiring Tom Henry, a retired Division of Wildlife staffer who supervised efforts to get falcons in downtown Akron.


Bandit was probably one of the two oldest falcons in Ohio, he said.


Bandit was believed to be 17 years old and ďthatís ancient for falcons,Ē said Jamey Graham of the Division of Wildlife.


Bandit survived injuries from aerial battles with male challengers in 2001 and 2005. Both times, he was rehabilitated and returned on his own to Akron.


It is possible that Chesapeake, Banditís latest mate, could find a new male suitor in the coming weeks, Graber said.


Falcons typically lay eggs in late March or early April. The eggs hatch about a month later.


In 2011, there were 39 territorial pairs in Ohio, and 34 of those pairs nested and produced 111 eggs. A total of 26 nests hatched young and 24 nests fledged 67 young birds.


Other 2011 nests are found on the Ohio Turnpike Bridge over the Cuyahoga River in Boston Township and in downtown Canton.


Cantonís male bird, Maverick, was found dead after striking a building in January.


Cuyahoga County had seven nests in Cleveland and one each in Lakewood, Valley View, Brook Park and Shaker Heights.


The crow-size birds were federally endangered until 1999. In 2008, Ohio changed the birdsí status from endangered to threatened as their numbers grew.


The birds can dive at speeds of 200 mph. They feed on smaller birds.


Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.