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Ophelia Flees the Coop, Flies Around Pleasantville

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Recently it was a mountain lion, or maybe a bobcat, that roamed around Pleasantville. This time, residents may have seen a slightly less threatening animal around the village, as a female falcon by the name of Ophelia briefly escaped from Pace University’s Pleasantville campus earlier this week.

“They’re wild animal and she’s a young falcon and she went out exploring,” said James Eyring, care keeper for Ophelia and assistant director of Pace University’s Environmental Center. “And once that bird is out of my eye sight, she can be like ‘oh let’s go here or let’s check out over there.’”

Ophelia was AWOL for around 12 hours beginning on Monday afternoon. Eyring recovered the falcon in Nannahagen Park on Tuesday morning. Eyring said he allows the falcon, along with the other birds in the environmental center, to briefly fly around on a daily basis for exercise. Each bird is trained to return to the center and his care, yet he said that Ophelia tends to have a rebellious and explorative tendency, and that this may not be the first time residents have spotted her around town.

“I’m a little bit more optimistic each time that I’ll recover her because this is probably about the third or fourth time that she’s escaped,” Eyring said. “She’s young so she’s sort of like a puppy where their attention span isn’t all that and she has a tendency to want to wander.”

Ophelia is a Peregrine Falcon, which National Geographic lists as a large bird with a 3-foot average wingspan that is known to hunt other medium-sized birds and occasionally small mammals and reptiles. Peregrine Falcons are known for their speed and can reach upwards of 200 miles per hour in their hunting dive.

Peregrine is an adjective meaning ‘wanderer,’ and Eyring said that is all too typical for Ophelia.

“She definitely lives up to her name,” Eyring said.

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