Freebird returns

Mansfield attorney Jerry Thompson shot this photo of a Peregrine Falcon just outside his 8th floor office window at the Richland Bank Building. He believes its the return of Freebird, a creature the community named in 2016.

MANSFIELD -- Freebird is back in town.

Well, Jerry Thompson thinks so anyway. The Mansfield attorney who works at the firm Spaulding and Kitzler, created a wave of attention in 2016 with his photo of a Peregrine Falcon that seemingly found a home right outside his 8th floor office in the Richland Bank Building.

The community got wrapped up in the majestic bird's presence, and even named it Freebird, after an online contest created by Richland Source.

Now Thompson believes Freebird has returned, nearly three years to the day he created such a fuss.

"The last time I was able to photograph him was MLK in 2016," Thompson said. "He was just outside one of our offices facing Main Street.

"This time I got within two feet of him on Jan. 13, facing Park Avenue West. It seems like he has something to perch on here, an air conditioner vent."

Thompson said early last spring he noticed two bird carcasses, but earlier this month he got close enough to recognize an old friend.

"I just think it's neat as hell," Thompson said. "I hadn't seen him in a long time."

Thompson said Freebird is bigger now, but he believes it's the same creature.

"I just kept advancing toward him and clicking pictures," he said. "He's just right outside the window."

Peregrine Falcons were originally cliff dwellers known for the spectacular way they kill prey, frequently dive-bombing from above at speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour. They are frequent visitors to towers and skyscrapers, better venues from which to launch their fatal dive-bombing technique on prey.

"They're like a Ferrari," Thompson said. "It's funny my best encounters with him are in January when it's so cold."

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I've lived in Richland Co. since 1990, married here, our children were born here. This is home. I have two books published on a passion topic, Ohio high school football. Others: Buckeyes, Cavs, Bengals, Reds, History, Disney.