Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Falcon Finds Freedom

The peregrine falcon with his wing splinted.
by Calah Beckwith
Lead Wildlife Keeper


A juvenile peregrine falcon has made his way back home after a stint at the VINS Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation. The young falcon came to VINS at the beginning of June after an unsuccessful first flight from his nest, in which he collided with a fence and suffered a fractured wing. 

As broken bones go, the little peregrine's fracture was concerning. The humerus (the bone that connects the shoulder to the elbow) had broken into several different pieces, and the fracture site was severely swollen and bruised. We immediately splinted and immobilized his wing, and he spent two weeks in his little bird "cast." When the splint was removed, we found that the fracture had healed perfectly - he had a large calcified"knot" at the fracture site, a sign that it was firm and strong. Shortly after the splint was removed, he was placed in an outdoor enclosure, where he could breath fresh air, stretch his wings, and strengthen his flight muscles.

The young falcon spends time in an outdoor enclosure
after his wing has healed.
 
By the end of July, the peregrine was ready to return to the wild. His family had been spotted daily at his original nesting site at the Entergy Vermont Yankee plant, so the VINS staff made the journey to Vernon, VT to reunite him with his parents and siblings. He made an amazing maiden flight and headed straight for the nesting site, where it is hoped he will follow the example of his family members and hone his hunting and flying skills.




Fully healed and recovered from his injuries, the peregrine falcon returns to his nest site.
Spot the bird in flight in the lower left corner of the photo; his nest site is at the tower in the upper right of the photo.

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