Friday the 13th a ‘lucky’ day for this Peregrine Falcon

PEFA release 14 June 14 - 06

Usually when a call comes in to Humboldt Wildlife Care Center, our clinic in Bayside, about a bird of prey who’s been struck by a vehicle, it doesn’t end well. So when the kind man who stopped to scoop up a Peregrine Falcon from Myrtle Avenue last Friday (the 13th) pulled up to our door, wildlife rehabilitator Lucinda Adamson was hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst.

Lucinda greeted the rescuer and went out with him to his truck.

Inside the covered bed, the falcon had gotten loose and was trying to fly.

“The rescuer called on his way to say the bird must have only been stunned,” Lucinda recalled, “he asked me, ‘should I just let him out?’ – I said no bring the bird in… might as well check him out.”

Lucinda had to get the falcon from the truck with one of our aviary nets. While the rescuer provided some basic information, she gave the bird a quick exam to see if he could be released.

Peregrine Falcons, like Bald Eagles and Brown Pelicans, were nearly extirpated in the United States due to exposure to the pesticide DDT. While other factors, such as wanton killing and habitat loss, contributed to their vulnerability, banning DDT and offering the protections of the Endangered Species Act allowed the world’s fastest animal(over 240 miles per hour!) to survive.

Peregrine Falcons were removed from the Endangered Species list in 1999.

While the population is on much better footing now, threats to individual birds still remain. Gunshot, fishing line entanglements, and vehicle strikes are common causes of injury to these birds.

This falcon, most likely a male judging from his relatively small size, was first seen in the road eating a dove. The bird’s rescuer said it caused him concern so he turned around to check on him. When he passed again the falcon was splayed on the pavement. Seemingly dead, he was easy to pick up.

PEFA release 14 June 14 - 01Lucinda Adamson, HWCC/BAX Wildlife Rehabilitator, checks the weight of the lucky Falcon (photo: LCorsiglia/BAX)

Remarkably, upon Lucinda’s intial examination, no bones were broken. The only thing amiss was a small amount of blood in the bird’s mouth, possibly belonging to the dove. She decided to keep the bird in care for observation and further evaluation. After receiving a mild anti-inflammatory and fluids, the falcon was placed into his temporary housing. Immediately he was attempting to fly from the small enclosure.

PEFA release 14 June 14 - 02An exam the next morning, so far so good! (photo: LCorsiglia/BAX)

The next morning the bird seemed as strong and determined as ever. He was desperate for freedom. An additional exam confirmed that the bird had no signicant injuries.

We took him back to the neighborhood where he was found. Lucinda opened the carrier, greeted by his intimidating glare. Once he saw his chance, the falcon sprang from the box into flight.

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Opening the lid on Peregrine Falcon is not undertaken lightly! (photo: LCorsiglia/BAX)

PEFA release 14 June 14 - 05A remarkable bird. (photo: LaCorsiglia/BAX)

“He made a wide arc around us,” Lucinda reported, “calling out once as he flew.”

Peregrine Falcons have made a successful return to Humboldt Bay. We wish this guy and all of them well.

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(all photos: Laura Corsiglia/BAX)