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Wildlife Comments (5)

A Fledgling Falcon Stops By to Dry Off



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.


Fortunately, the falcon was unharmed by her unplanned swim. During her intake examination we discovered that she was in good body condition. The results of the in-house blood work we performed also painted a picture of good health. After allowing the bird to dry for several hours with the aid of a heat lamp, we test flew her in one of our outdoor aviaries. She was clearly a beginner, but she flew well enough that we decided to return her immediately to her parents.

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.


Satisfied with the safe perch the fledgling Peregrine had chose, I left her to her parents care.

- Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist



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she sure is a beauty. Glad PAWS could help her out.

I was checking on that nest location regularly, just to make sure there were no fledglings in trouble. I'm so glad this compassionate boater came to her rescue. What a serendipitous encounter for her. Did you see the parents come back and feed her while you were there?

Good job Kevin and the rest of the good people at PAWS.
What a beautiful bird.

Thanks, Kevin and crew! And thanks to the boater, also. Kevin, I'm so glad you were able to return the bird so close to where she fell in the water.

Thanks Kevin for your good care of this young female. She actually swam all the way across the ship canal, watched by one of the local rowing coaches, who was the one to thoughtfully helped this swimmer out of the water. Who knew these birds could swim? Thanks for your good care and for returning her so quickly to her home. Much appreciated by a group of us who watch this nest sight often. I love the photos.

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