On June 19, the Wildlife Center received a call about one of the two female falcons hatched on cam in downtown Richmond on May 1, 2014. On June 17, the two birds fledged from their roost; volunteers with “FledgeWatch” looked on as the birds took their first flights. Two days after fledging from the nest, one of the birds flew into a building in downtown Richmond, damaging her left eye and beak. The bird was rescued and taken to the Cary Street Veterinary Hospital. The falcon was transported to the Wildlife Center the following morning.
Dr. Rich Sim, the Center’s veterinary fellow, examined the bird when she arrived. The examination of the falcon’s left eye revealed hemorrhage [bleeding] and inflammation within the eye and a significantly swollen third eyelid. Dr. Rich was unable to fully examine the back of the bird’s eye due to the presence of blood in the eye; a follow-up eye examination will be needed after several days to truly determine the prognosis of the eye. If the peregrine is visually compromised due to permanent eye injuries, she will be non-releasable. Dr. Rich and licensed veterinary technician Leigh-Ann took radiographs of the bird; no fractures were found, but Dr. Rich did find a ruptured air sac. The Peregrine Falcon is not having difficulty breathing; this rupture should heal within the next few days. The end of the bird’s beak was also fractured, though after consulting radiographs, Dr. Rich thinks the bone of the beak appears unharmed. He anticipates that the keratin of the beak will grow back within the next two to three months, with some re-shaping through beak trims.
The Peregrine Falcon was started on a course of anti-inflammatories and pain medication; the veterinary team also gave the bird fluids. The falcon was placed in the Center’s holding room; she will receive a follow-up eye examination on Monday, June 23.
Peregrine in the news:
Richmond falcon's injured eye might keep it from being released, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Injured falcon is alert, but evaluation will take more time, Richmond Times-Dispatch