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A Peregrine Falcon Family Reunion

Jun19

 

Peregrine Falcon 111109 close-up On June 10, workers at the Seattle Boat Company found a Peregrine Falcon that appeared to be in distress.  He was sitting on the ground, and did not fly away when approached.  The concerned workers scooped the bird into a box and PAWS staff member Cindy Kirkendall picked him up and brought him to the wildlife center.

At the wildlife center, staff identified the falcon as a juvenile bird.  The Seattle Boat Company sits directly below the Interstate 5 bridge in Seattle where a pair of Peregrines has been nesting each summer for the past several years.  The youngster brought to PAWS was a fledgling from this years nest, and he had likely ended up on the ground after one of his first attempts at flight.

Two Photos copy Since the young bird was uninjured, we decided that the best course of action would be to reunite him with his parents.  After receiving some advice from Bud Anderson of The Falcon Research Group, I traveled to the area in which the falcon had been found to scout out an appropriate release site.  During the scouting trip I spotted an adult Peregrine sitting on a bridge support high above me.  I also identified a stand of trees that would make a good starting point for the bird in our care.

Back at PAWS, we tested the fledgling falcon's flying abilities in our large flight pen.  He was a little rough around the edges, but seemed capable enough.  Fellow PAWS staff member Jim Green and I transported the young Peregrine back to Seattle for the release.  When we released the falcon, I expected him to take a short flight and land in one of the nearby trees.  Instead, he flew up and over the trees, evaded a brief attack by a local crow, and then gained altitude as he circled off to the Northwest.  He continued flying in a wide circle until he was heading back south toward the bridge.  He finally came to rest accross the Seattle ship canal, high up on an electrical tower.  He was now right next to the bridge, and on it we could see one adult falcon and one other fledgling.  Satisfied that he was back where he belonged, we left the falcon to enjoy his family reunion.       

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