Amazing how in this age of technology, so many big messages arrive with so few words. I got this text from our friend Lisa at Prairie Wildlife Rehab: “Are you missing a peregrine?” It was 10 o’clock at night. Yesterday morning, our oldest chick (Amarna) had tried to jump over her brother and slid off his back and accidentally and unintentionally fledged. We’d hunted around for her through the day in-person and via camera but no luck – and more importantly, no report had come in about a peregrine in trouble – not until PWRC sent theirs this evening. She’d been found on the ground just north of Portage Avenue on Donald Street.
Folks don’t always know how to get hold us or about our two wildlife rehabilitation organizations but in this case they knew about PWRC and she was shipped off to Pembina Vet which is a drop-off location for PWRC and they reached out to Lisa that a falcon had been dropped off. Since there are more Merlin falcons in town than peregrines, she assumed it was a juvenile Merlin having a bad day, when actually it was Older Sister, Amarna, having a bad day. So off Amarna went with Lisa back to PWRC for a proper exam and was very ungrateful.
Peregrines sort of fall into three categories when they are being handled – polite, feisty and mean. All three are normal. Polite is hissing and sometimes yelling but no biting or grabbing. Feisty is grabbing and a bit more noisy. Mean is noisy, bitey, grabby and all around uber-aggressive. Amarna was “mean” when we were banding her and we have the battle scars to show for it – even Dennis which is very unusual. Her siblings were somewhere between feisty and mean but she took the cake. Seems like mean is her default setting because she was exactly the same way with Lisa. When I asked if she was okay, Lisa’s response was “Definitely okay. Very very mean.” And this from a woman who works will all manner of wildlife. It was also a good sign that Amarna was doing well.
We picked her up the next day and took her back to the Hotel where we released her on the roof. You’d think when faced with freedom she would take it and run, but no, she had to have a good long hiss at me. I managed to pick her up and turn her around so she could see that all of her family was there to meet her – her siblings on the north ledge looking back at us and her parents yelling at us from overhead. We didn’t stay long, just enough to release her and count her siblings to make sure everyone was accounted for. In the meantime, Dennis was able to get some great photos.
With luck, her next fledge will be much less eventful!