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Peregrine Falcon Defies Odds & Takes Flight

Photo by Ashley Kinney

Photo by Jen Constantin

Photo by Ashley Kinney

Photo by Jen Constantin

Photo by Jen Constantin

Photo by CJ Baldwin

Photo by CJ Baldwin

On February 15th, 2010, the Wildlife Center received a Peregrine falcon with severe tissue damage from her left talon up to the tip of her left wing after flying into a PG&E Electrical tower.

Due to the extent of her injuries she was not given a positive disposition. All of her flight feathers on her left wing were completely singed and she had wounds on her talons. This falcon was a fighter, however, and our staff refused to give up on her.

Upon exam the falcon was treated for these wounds with special topical creams, pain medications, antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and fluid therapy. After initial treatment at the Center she was moved to a homecare setting with one of our animal care staff.

Once she had stabilized, the Peregrine Falcon was cared for in our hospital, first into a hawk box and later into a small flight enclosure where she could molt her damaged feathers.

In January of 2011, she was moved to a homecare facility that included a 40 foot flight enclosure, allowing her to get some much needed exercise under the watchful care of one of our Animal Care Shift Captains.

Now we are very happy to announce that she is healthy enough to fly, and will begin strength-building creance training with a group of animal care volunteers trained in falconry. Thanks to her strength and the efforts of our amazing staff, this beautiful bird of prey has defied the odds and will take flight at our center facilities!

Update: February 10th, 2011

Emotions ran high today as our animal care staff and volunteers took the Peregrine falcon out for her first creance training session. It was a beautiful clear day at WCSV and the falcon was eager to fly.

Full from her latest meal, she flew low to the ground while attached to the creance and quickly tired herself out. Because this was her first time with the equipment, the outlook for her next flight looks even better.

This bird has earned a special place in our hearts, and several of our staff blinked back tears as they watched her fly. One volunteer stated that it was, “absolutely spectacular”.

Update: February 17th, 2011

The Peregrine falcon completed her fifth creance strength-building session today at the Center. Despite the soggy weather, our trained falconer and one of our animal care volunteers spent an extended period of time running with her on the line.

They were thrilled to report afterward that the falcon flew as high as 40-50 feet, and they are planning on extending the line for her next session. Her recovery over these sessions has been spectacular, and everyone at the Center is thrilled.

Once she has gained strength from a few more sessions, we are hoping to release her.

Thanks to the Peregrine falcon’s will to live and the commitment of WCSV staff and volunteers, this beautiful bird of prey will soon fly free again and return to her natural habitat.

Update: April 2, 2011

On Friday April 1, 2011 Wildlife Center Staff, in coordination with PG&E’s wildlife Biologist, released the Peregrine falcon into her natural habitat. It was a beautiful day in Mountain View and the media arrived in full force. Wildlife Rehabilitation Supervisor Ashley Kinney assisted as the Peregrine’s cuffs and jesses were carefully removed from her ankles. Ms. Kinney then threw her up into the air, and the falcon soared over the lake, circling back to the crowd and catching a nearby airstream.

You can view the KTVU coverage here.

Pictures from the release coming soon!

Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley
3027 Penitencia Creek Road
San Jose, CA 95132
1-408-929-9453 (929-WILD)

Hours: 9 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week
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WCSV is a leased facility of the Santa Clara County Parks & Recreation Department,
funded in part by support from the City of San Jose, the City of Milpitas, the City of Sunnyvale and Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority