Peregrine Falcon #13-2538

Admission Date: 
October 18, 2013
Release Date: 
October 30, 2013
Location of Rescue: 
Essex County
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Entanglement with another falcon
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On October 18, two mature Peregrine Falcons were admitted to the Center as patients #13-2538 and #13-2539. The two falcons were found in a river in Essex County with their talons locked together. Peregrine Falcons typically establish their winter territories in early winter. The two birds were likely competing for a territory, resulting in a physical altercation between the falcons.

Based on plumage, it appears that #13-2539 is an older bird [it has a more black-and-white chest] and #13-2538 is a second-year bird [she has more brown on her chest]. #13-2538 has a federal band; she was banded as a nestling in New Jersey in May 2012 at the Burlington-Bristol Bridge. Dr. Dave McRuer spoke with Kathy Clark, the New Jersey Supervising Zoologist from the New Jersey Division of Fish of Wildlife, who was responsible for banding #13-2538. Kathy Clark reported that this falcon had three male siblings in the nest, and the zoologist was surprised that there was a territory dispute this early in the season.   [Here is more information on Peregrine Falcon populations in New Jersey]. Both birds are believed to be female based on weights and measurements.

The younger falcon appeared to be mostly unscathed following the altercation. On October 18, #13-2538 presented with only a minor abrasion on her cere. Because the entanglement with another bird can be a stressful encounter, preventative measures were taken to support the bird’s healing – Dr. Rich Sim administered fluids, vitamin E, and an anti-inflammatory to assist with healing of any potential soft tissue injuries.

On October 19, an in-depth eye exam was performed and no damage to the eye was found. A fecal exam revealed signs of coccidia, and the falcon was given an antibiotic to treat the parasitic infection.

On October 21, radiographs were performed and were unremarkable. The falcon was moved to outdoor Flight Pen 4, and the veterinary staff will continue to monitor the bird’s appetite and attitude. Dr. Kristin Britton is hopeful that the falcon will only have a short stay at the Wildlife Center.

On October 23, the falcon was moved to A3.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this unique patient…and to the 2,600 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year. Please help!



October 30, 2013

On the morning of October 30, Peregrine Falcon #13-2538 traveled to the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge for release. Two Center students – Margaret, an education outreach extern, and Jessica, a veterinary extern – and the Center’s rehabilitation extern Kelsey transported the falcon. They met with Dr. Dave on their way to the refuge and traveled together to the release site.

The release team scouted the location for other female Peregrine Falcons already occupying the territory. If there were multiple female falcons in the area, Dr. Dave would be concerned about competition over territory – the initial cause of admission for #13-2538.

Only one other Peregrine Falcon was spotted, and Dr. Dave felt comfortable releasing the bird. A small group gathered to watch the release, and Dr. Dave shared the story of this unique patient with the crowd. After a quick photo opportunity, the bird was tossed into the air and flew along the tree line before traveling out of sight.

Release Photos:

Peregrine Falcon #13-2538 Release

Release Video:

October 28, 2013

Peregrine Falcon #13-2538 has been flying well in flight pen A3. After a Monday morning assessment by Dr. Dave McRuer, and certified wildlife rehabilitator Kelli Knight, the bird has been cleared for release.

The Peregrine Falcon will be released on Wednesday, October 30 at Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The release is scheduled for 12 noon and is open to the public. If you would like to attend the release, please RSVP to Guests should plan to rendezvous at the Wilna House.

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