Friday, December 05, 2014

A New Direction For Blaze

Not many people realize the fact that upwards of 70% of birds (yes, 7 out of 10!) do not survive to their first birthday. This is true for common backyard birds like mourning doves and robins, as well as peregrine falcons. Urban peregrines have a slight edge because many humans are watching out for them, especially at publicized nest sites like in Columbus. Fans will recall this past fledging season was extra busy in that each of the 3 fledglings was grounded and returned to the nest ledge or other high perch.

Blaze (48/Z), in particular, was retrieved from the ground 3 times. We now know she suffered some type of subtle and undetectable trauma on her first attempt at flight, which prohibited her from getting proper lift on attempts after.  She has been in the care of wildlife rehabilitators since late June. Unfortunately, after months of care and evaluations, there hasn't been the improvement with Blaze that we were hoping for. Despite efforts to get her back to where she needs to be in order to be a wild peregrine, this falcon lacks the ability to fly as well as an aerial hunter needs to and it is doubtful she could ever overcome this deficiency. For that reason, we have deemed her unsuitable for release back to the wild.

This kind of decision is not made lightly--for release into the wild, a peregrine must be as close to tip top shape as possible or it would be irresponsible to set it free, knowing it probably wouldn't survive. So, while not our first choice, nonetheless, it was the best choice for 48/Z.  And remember, were it not for the interested individuals reporting her on the ground, she probably would not have survived at all.

Being unfit to survive in the wild left two other options.  Some raptors do not adapt well to captivity, and in that type of case, euthanasia is the most humane solution.  But Blaze exhibited an acceptable disposition to be considered a permanent captive. Therefore Blaze will become the newest avian staff member of the education program at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary. Through outreach programs, Blaze will serve as an ambassador for the species helping OBS to educate and increase awareness about peregrine falcons, wildlife conservation and the role that birds of prey play in the ecosystem. Quite an important job and what a great candidate to fill the role... We wish the best for Blaze and know she is in very, very good hands.

On another note, the young peregrine from Pennsylvania that was found back in early September, remains in rehab. This bird had several feathers that were damaged.  New feathers were imped to replace the damaged ones, but unfortunately, the process was unsuccessful. This falcon will have to remain in the care of a wildlife rehabilitator until new feathers grow in.

Meanwhile, the problem with the nestbox video feed is a dead computer.  We are looking into replacement hardware and software options.   In terms of falcon activity, both the adult peregrines continue in the area and are being seen via the ledgecam at least a few times a week. They will likely stay the winter in Columbus.