Peregrine Falcons are known for their impressive flying skills. They are master aerialists, flying circles around their avian prey in a pursuit that sometimes culminates in a 200+ mile per hour dive at the end of which the falcon delivers the fatal blow. But these skills take time to develop, and a young Peregrine leaving the nest on his or her first flight shows considerably less airborne talent than one would expect from the species.
One such youngster ran into trouble on Saturday, July 27 shortly after she took flight from a nest ledge on the ship canal bridge in Seattle. That flight ended with her splashing down in the water below, and her parents frantically circling her in a vain attempt to lend assistance. Although the parents could do nothing to help, the commotion they caused caught the attention of a nearby boater who scooped the fledgling falcon out of the water and brought her to PAWS.
After a total of just four hours in our care, I drove the young Peregrine back to Seattle, and released her on the north side of the ship canal less than 200 yards from where she had been pulled out of the water. She flew south for a short distance and then circled back. She quickly gained altitude and landed on a high ledge beneath the I-5 bridge.
- Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist