Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Primo" the Peregrine Falcon gets released to the wild

Primo was hatched last summer in the nest box atop the JSM Building in downtown Salt Lake. Soon after fledging, he flew into a 17th story office tower window and fell to the ground. He somehow survived the accident, and subsequently spent many months in a rehab facility in Colorado. Finally, ready to return to the wild, he was brought to Utah and released at one of my favorite places, Antelope Island. As one who had followed the peregrines from the time they were just eggs in the nest box, through hatching, growing and fledging, I really wanted to witness this release.

 About 40 people showed up in the freezing weather to witness the event. It was worth it.  Here are some of my photos of the event.
 Primo is a little excited at his first look at his new home

 Even an intrepid hunter is capable of occasional cuteness.

 Finally, the launch. The woman who had the privilege of releasing him was a volunteer who had apparently spent long overnight hours watching the injured bird.
 There he is, just visible above the mountains on his first flight on the island.

 He perched for awhile (see way back there?) on a corral fence and finally flew off out of sight. Good luck little Primo. I hope I see you again on one of my visits to your home.
 About 40 people gathered to witness the release. Most of the people here closely follow the nesting of the downtown peregines. The DWR officials there and other volunteers were asking if any of us might be able help "chase" or follow the young new falcons when another new family fledges downtown in a few months.

Incidentally, we were told that the rehab facility that took in this falcon has a policy of as little human interaction with the birds as possible.  The cage is large enough for the birds to fly around.  Live food is released into the cage and the falcons must hunt and kill their own food.  It is particularly important that the falcon show an ability to hunt for its own food before release to the wild.  Yet still we worry whether it will be able to do so in its new environment.


troutbirder said...

OH! Wow! What a wonderful story. The photos are terrific of this magnificent raptor. I've only seen one in the wild, many years ago in the Gravely Range in Montana.

Bekkieann said...

I love our downtown peregine family. I was reading that peregrines have been nesting downtown since 1984. There is a pair checking out the nest box right now, and we cams will be up in a week or two, so we will be watching for another new family!

Larry said...

What a beauty! now Primo is free to roam the airways! Great photos too!

Bekkieann said...

Thank you, Larry. It was thrilling to be up close as he gained his freedom.