On June 19, a banded Peregrine Falcon fledgling was found grounded on the James River Bridge in Newport News, Virginia. The falcon was unable to fly and was taken to permitted wildlife rehabilitator Dana Lusher. After several days in Dana's care, the bird was transferred to the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
On admission, the falcon was alert and responsive. After giving the bird some time to rest in the hospital's waiting room, the veterinary team examined the falcon but did not find any injuries other than mild pododermatitis on the bird's left foot. Radiographs and blood work both came back within normal limits. The veterinary team suspects that the falcon is uninjured and is simply a young bird that is not yet coordinated at flying. They started the falcon on anti-inflammatory medication to help alleviate its pododermatitis, and then placed the bird in an outdoor holding area where it will remain in a crate until it is ready to transition to a flight pen. Peregrine Falcons are typically a high-stress species that can have a difficult time adjusting to rehabilitative care, so this outdoor area will help limit the bird's stress.
After the exam, Center staff contacted biologists from the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) to report the falcon's band number and learn more about the bird's background. Staff were informed that the falcon was banded on June 7 and fledged from a nest located on the James River Bridge. The bird likely fledged from its nest the week days before it was found, further supporting the notion that it is a young bird still learning how to fly.
So far, the falcon has been eating well and the pododermatitis on its left foot has improved. A recent flight test showed that the bird could fly but with limited coordination. A fecal test also came back positive for coccidia, a type of intestinal parasite, so the veterinary team started the falcon on a course of anti-parasitic medication.
For now, the falcon will remain in a small enclosure outdoors while it finishes its course of medication.