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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Back where he belongs

Just over a week ago I was made aware of a juvenile peregrine that had unfortunately flown into a glass window on a high rise skyscraper in East London, the bird was in the care of Sue at the South Essex Wildlife Hospital.
I took the opportunity to go down to the Hospital and have a look as, due to where it was found, I knew which brood it had come from, it had to be one of the juveniles from the Flooded out site.

The adults frequent this skyscraper building all the time before breeding and I know that they take the juveniles there after breeding having observed them a number of times.
It is around a mile from their nest site building and having watched them pretty regularly you do get to know which buildings they favour, having said that I also knew that this pair have a large territory and they are a sod to locate sometimes.

With this in mind, and in the back of my head, would I be able to find the family if the juvenile was ok; I headed down to the Hospital.
Unfortunately the juvenile had, from the collision, sustained blood in the eyes; the neck was fine but could not be released back until, and if, the blood cleared.
There was the possibility of a detached Retina so it was just a course of waiting to see the outcome. There was nothing wrong with its appetite as it was eating all put before it, always a good sign.

Nothing wrong with his appetite

Nor his - male Sparrowhawk recovering as well.

Last Sunday Sue texted and gave the welcome news that the eyes had cleared and the Vet said it was ok to go back to the wild.
I undertook a dummy run on Sunday with the intent of finding the family, the adults and 2 juvenile females; true to form due to their large territory I could not find them.

I was now in 2 minds, we were into late July, this bird, although fledged for a good 6 weeks was very likely still reliant on the adults to feed it, so it had to go back with the family. The trouble is if I couldn’t find them I did not want to release it back within their territory as I always make a point of trying to connect them visually with each other on release.

The 2nd option was to release it with a fostering pair, if you recall I did this last year and it worked a treat, this juvenile, as was last years was also from the same adults, the Flooded out pair. The foster pairs territory also adjoins the Flooded out pairs territory so land marks and buildings, even though at distance will be familiar to the released juvenile albeit around 4 miles away. In short if I chose the option of fostering he would recognise distant surroundings, either stay with his new ‘family’ or could make his own way back to re establish contact with his blood parents.

In the end I chose to put him with the foster pair as I knew that the adults+juveniles (there are 4) would be on the nesting site or nearby, it gave him the best chance of success.
The release couldn’t have gone better, I had arranged access to the building on Tuesday, we took him up to the Roof, a single juvenile was already on the wing and I let him out on the roof as the juv flew by.
Doubts over flying ability quickly evaporated, he barely touched the roof and he was gone, straight up interacting with his new sibling.


We watched for a while, he flew out a little more and another juvenile or adult came out and they interacted as well, all good stuff.

A successful release and I also checked in on them again on Friday twice, released juvenile still present(the others are ringed and he isn’t) makes life a lot easier identifying them, 2 of the resident juveniles were also on site.

As to how long you could get away with fostering is hard to say, at some point the adults will probably not be so tolerant – say from August onwards as their own juveniles will likely disperse, with earlier breeding comes earlier dispersal in London.

Never less he was accepted, and he now has another chance at the big wide world.

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