A large nestling had fallen from a nest built high on the cliffs of Redonda Island, plunging deep into the ocean. Fortunately a zodiac was passing by and witnessed the immersion. When it surfaced, the rescuers first thought it had drowned, but then saw its thrashing legs.
Pulling the nestling into the zodiac, they shook it off and wrung it out. Initially its breath was rattling and they feared the worst, but the bird managed to clear its airway, and the rescuers called Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society (PROWLS).
They brought the wet and cold nestling into town, dropping it off at PROWLS on the way. PROWLS president Merrilee Prior took it, wrapped it in towels and settled what she thought might be a large merlin nestling in a kennel on a heating pad in the ICU.
The next morning, dry and feisty, it was sent on the early Pacific Coastal Airlines flight to Vancouver, where it was taken to Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) in Delta, the raptor specialists. OWL reported back that, “She’s such a large merlin she’s a peregrine falcon.”
Paired with a foster falcon mom who will feed and teach it to fly and hunt, eventually the falcon will be returned to Powell River for release. There’s nothing like a community of many diverse parts and people to see impossible tasks accomplished.
During a peregrine falcon’s spectacular hunting stoop from heights of over one kilometre, it may reach speeds of 320 kilometres per hour as it drops toward its prey. The peregrine falcon is one of the most widespread birds in the world.