Freeport, Illinois — July 11, 2017 — My phone rang around 11:30 in the morning yesterday, just as we were getting ready to go out and enjoy lunch in Freeport.
On the other end of the line was Dave from D&D Enterprises in downtown.
“Greg, I’ve got a story for you”Dave says to me on the phone. Then, proceeds to tell me that right by the Stephenson County Courthouse he and his neighbor (Nathan Thompson from Hilldale Dairy) spotted a hawk.
Then I thought, hmm a hawk at the courthouse? I suppose if anyone is going to keep any eye on the place, a hawk would be a good choice.
But then I remembered a morning in downtown Freeport when I was filming one day.
It was January of 2016 and right there on Chicago Avenue just up from the corner of the Landmark and DeLuna Fine Art Gallery I catch a glimpse.
There, on the then Game Pros building was a Hawk. He was a beautiful sight and sitting right on top of the awning keeping any eye on things.
I caught this video of him flying.
Tagged Hawk Seen Downtown Freeport – We were downtown filming episode two of “This Week Downtown” and at Game Pros on the roof, was this Hawk. Does anyone know anything about this bird? The Hawk was tagged with a big number on him. Chime in. It was quite the sight! Share This!!
Posted by Today In The Port on Saturday, January 30, 2016
Here it is July of 2017 and Nathan and Dave catch the same little guy (or girl) hanging around downtown still. We think Freeport has a permanent feathery resident who seems to enjoy his stay in downtown Freeport.
His name, Number 376. Or maybe we’ll call him Agent 376. (Gives him a little more mystique.)
A little history about Agent 376?
According to Laurie Peters they relocate large birds near O’hare Airport for the birds safety. She told us that this one was relocated to a park in Ogle County in 2013.
Another person said, “It sits in the tree by my house”. They said they live on Jackson”.
Wayne Munson said at the time that Number 376 was spending a lot of time on the roof of Freeport Glass — then yesterday he was spotted at the courthouse, as seen in this photo taken by Nathan Thompson.
We also found the following information said to be from a local USADA-APHIS Wildlife Biologist:
“Red-tailed hawk research at O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, IL
To supplement the research previously conducted with red-tailed hawks (RTHAs) at O’Hare International Airport (ORD), USDA-Wildlife Services (WS) is conducting a project in collaboration with WS’ National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC). Specific data regarding temporal and spatial movement patterns of red-tailed hawks on airfields is lacking. This project will provide information regarding the movement and activity patterns of red-tailed hawks in and around airport environments and allows for a quantification of the risk posed by red-tailed hawks to safe aircraft operations. The objective of the study is to use patagial tags on red-tailed hawks to monitor return rates from relocation sites that are 50, 75, 100 and 125 miles west and south of ORD.
Birds will be uniquely marked using standard U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service aluminum bands and patagial tags on the wings. Patagial tags will be attached to up to 200 RTHAs per year through 2015 and relocated offsite to 50, 75, 100 and 125 miles west of ORD in years 2010-2012 and south during years 2013-2015. Birds with patagial tags will be documented upon return to ORD via opportunistic sightings. Time, date and GPS location information will be recorded when tagged birds are encountered. For the birds tagged in 2010 and 2013, the patagial tags will be green with white numbers while 2011 and 2014 tags will be white with black numbers and 2012 and 2015 the tags will be orange with black numbers.
So if you see 376, take a minute and say hello. If you’re really nice, he might even let you take his picture.
If you have any other history or sightings of 376, chime in.