A fantastic result for Wonkey Bill

This month we released a Peregrine Falcon from our National Bird of Prey Hospital who has been in our care for an incredible two and a half years. In 2016, the average that a wild bird remained in our care was 15 days.

This bird was admitted with a broken upper mandible that we suspect was caused in a motor vehicle accident. Once admitted, we ascertained that it was a young bird hatched that same year and would have been fairly recently fledged. We kept it in our rehabilitation aviaries until its beak had regrown and then, in July 2015, transferred it to a local falconer, Paul Davies, to train and release. Peregrine Falcons are taught how to hunt by their parents and given it’s age when admitted we needed to do this process to give it the best possible chance of survival in the wild. We also wanted to ensure that the beak continued to grow correctly as, once released to the wild, it would have to grow and wear down naturally.

In April 2016, when it had seemed promising that we may be able to release the bird, we noticed that the beak was not aligned properly and had started to flake, so it was returned to our care allowing us time to reshape the beak and ensure it was growing correctly.

Over the subsequent months, the first renewed growth came away and the second regrowth came in strongly and with a much better shape. By October 2016 the beak was looking sound and we decided to train it for release again. Unfortunately Paul wasn’t available to assist us again so we enlisted the help of another expert falconer, Chris Soans, who kindly took the bird for training. This was successful and Wonkey Bill was released back to the wild on Tuesday 21 March.

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