For the first winter season in more than I can count, we do not have one or more peregrine falcons "hanging around" the University of Chicago campus. I think about them a lot, but the December 19 memorial for Malachi Ritscher (beautifully organized by our mutual employer, the University of Chicago) has brought them more acutely to mind of late. Malachi had been involved with the Chicago Peregrine Release and Restoration project for more than 10 years, a little longer than I myself have. I think my friend Mary Hennen, director of the project, won't mind if I reprint her comments here:
"I regret that I will be unable to attend [the memorial] as I would have been happy to remark on Malachi's passion for the peregrines. I knew Malachi back in 1994 when he lived on the north side near the Broadway [falcon nest] site. He dedicated an extraordinary amount of time to observing and documenting that pair of falcons throughout their nesting season. Malachi's enthusiasm for the peregrines showed in his beautiful photographs of the birds which he generously shared. It was very nice to see him again at the University in 2005 as it had been a number of years and I'm very sorry for everyone's loss of a good friend."
Malachi's self-inflicted death was meant to draw attention to the evils of the war in Iraq, but was ignored by mainstream news media locally and nationally, which makes it all the sadder that this advocate for the restoration of the species and for other culturally, humanistically, and humanely important causes, is gone.
1 week ago