I’m happy to report that after almost 2 years in captivity that today, Victory was released back to the wild!
For review: Victory was hatched in Toledo in 2002, and showed up in Columbus in 2003. She bonded with the resident male at that time, Bandit, but no eggs were produced likely due to her young age. By nesting season 2004, Bandit had been replaced by Orville. Victory and Orville claimed the downtown Columbus territory but again, no eggs were produced. In 2005, her first successful nesting attempt yielded 2 young and in 2006, Victory and Orville successfully raised 4 young. Around Labor Day, 2006, Victory was found with an injured wing from an unknown cause.
If you scroll back through the blog posts you’ll see updates from time to time on her progress. During the course of her reconditioning, it might have been possible that she could have been released sooner. However, since peregrines have such strong homing tendencies, we needed to take into consideration what was happening at the nest at the Rhodes Tower. We did not want to release her while there was an active nest to prevent a potentially bad outcome in the event she came back to Columbus to regain her territory and found another female with young at "her" nest. Therefore, it was decided to wait to release her until the juvenile falcons fledged and were proficient in their flight abilities.
Today was the day for her second chance in the wild. Our goal was to release her away from the Columbus territory since we know there is a resident female claiming that location (Scout). Victory was taken to a rural location in southern Ohio for a simple release with no media or other fanfare. The location was selected so that if she does come back to Columbus it will take her at least a few days during which time she can build up her strength and get back into wild flight condition and be in better shape for a territorial battle, if that is what happens. Of course this is only one scenario. Another scenario is that she could be in worse shape by the time she gets back to Columbus. Yet another possible outcome is she does not come back to Columbus and unless she shows up and is identified somewhere else, we'll never know what became of her. But, all things considered we gave her the best chance again at life in the wild. One thing for sure, had the interested bystander who first saw her injured not intervened, she definitely wouldn't be around now for me to be writing this.
Many, many people were involved in her story, beginning with her initial capture, the medical procedures, throughout her time in rehab and finally, her reconditioning to get her to the point of having a second chance in the wild. It would be impossible to name everyone, so I’ll put a big “THANKS
” out there to all of you who were involved directly as well as all of you who didn’t forget about her and would send emails wondering how she was doing. Thanks also to Chris Black for the awesome photo of Victory during her reconditioning. She's a magnificent bird with a strong will that is evident in this photo. I've had firsthand experience with her tenacity, as have many others involved in her care. Let’s hope that her determination works to help her make it! Good luck to Victory!