A Peregrine's Progress

Patient # 98-114, arrived 10/10/1998, released 1/14/1999

Less than a year old, this wild-hatched peregrine was found on October 8th tangled up in the fence of a soccer field in Marmet by the Marmet Volunteer Fire Department, who rescued her and immediately transported her to the Kanawha Valley Animal Emergency Clinic in South Charleston. Dr. Susan Clingenpeel, DVM, received the bird and stabilized it before sending it on to Valley West Veterinary Hospital and Three Rivers Avian Center. X-rays soon revealed a fractured set of metacarpal bones - a very serious and often permanently crippling injury. Fortunately, a new technique for immobilizing these difficult fractures had been recently developed in Canada, and the Center immediately put the new technique into practice. Eight weeks of anxious waiting later, the technique showed its results: the Falcon had 2 perfectly aligned, perfectly healed metacarpal bones! Physical therapy was then instituted to help the Peregrine redevelop and strengthen her flight muscles. On January 8 she passed all of her flight tests easily and was judged ready to return to the wild. Three months after her unfortunate entanglement with the soccer field fence, this special bird resumed her rightful place in the skies over the Charleston area.
The peregrine falcon's carpels (finger bones) were broken. A splint was wrapped around them but without immobilizing the wing. This prevented wing muscle atrophy and preserved the bird's balance and elbow/wrist mobility.

Peregrines, like all falcons, can be hyperactive and nervous birds, so as soon as it was safe, we moved the bird into an outdoor enclosure. This gives the bird room to move and exercise and reduces the psychological stress of captivity. Our flight cages are secluded in woods away from other activities to provide as humane and natural a space as possible.