Rare Virginia falcon released into wild after surviving fall from nest

The Tri-Cities

HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) –A rare falcon native to Virginia was released back into the wild Tuesday afternoon in Hopewell.

“Once it’s out of my hands, I don’t know what’s going to happen!” an excited Dr. Ernesto Dominguez with the Wildlife Center of Virginia told 8News.

In May, the Peregrine Falcon chick fell from its nest onto the road at the Benjamin Harrison Memorial Bridge. Two cars drove over the young falcon but were able to avoid causing more damage.

After being in the roadway for nearly 45 minutes, a registered transporter was able to rescue the young bird.

The Center for Conservation Biology said Benjamin Harrison Bridge has had a Peregrine Falcon nest since 1996.

The Peregrine Falcon was believed to be extinct in the early 1960s. However, their are now about 30 known breeding paris of peregrines in Virginia.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia said they gave the falcon a complete physical examination. The rare bird suffered a ‘keel [breastbone] fracture, damage to the lungs, and likely a ruptured air sac.’

Two weeks after the fall, the peregrine was moved to a small outdoor enclosure and later transported to the Wildbunch Wildlife Refuge in Warsaw.

The falcon — now a juvenile — was retuned to the wildlife center and released at the JamesCrest Farm in Hopewell.

“We need to help these animals,” caregiver Diana O’Connor said Tuesday. “There is just so few of us helping.”

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