Raptor Rehabilitation and Research


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Photo1: "Rosie" ready for her first treatment (Click to enlarge!)

The story of "Rosie", the Peregrine

Well, this is a rather sad story from the bird's point of view, the fastest being on earth condemned to live the life of a "grasshopper" until the end of its days. But it was  Rosie's strong will to live that made me rehabilitate her. When she came to my facility Rosie and I had a long "talk" and together we decided to go for it. I must mention Diana Siderides' (Flight to Freedom) advice and encouragement. I sent her photos of the bird when it had arrived and she said she thought everything would turn out well - thank you, Diana! (Read about Diana's life as a rehabilitator in her recently published book. Order your copy at the above URL and help Diana to keep up her good work for the raptors!!)

When I visited a rehab center last year, I saw a beautiful female Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus peregrinus) in a small flight cage. I was told that the bird had come from the wild and must have hit a wire and hurt her wing. She had been treated at the Veterinary University of Vienna and was at the rehab to be released after flight training as no bones were broken. Yet, she would not use her wing for some reason. She kept it stretched from her and just climbed up and down the branches of her cage.

Months later I asked how the Peregrine was doing: SHOCK! They had had to amputate her wing as she had started gnawing at it. She had been intended to be "used" for captive propagation, but with just one wing left nobody wanted her any more. I decided to take her "home" and they gave the bird to me willingly. I fetched her on the 7th of January 2000. SHOCK number two: Rosie had not yet realised she would never fly again and tried and tried and had fallen onto her beak so often, that almost half of the upper mandible was destroyed. Her cere was grey and so were her talons, claws much too long and sharp, she was dirty and had a bad smell. But fortunately we have changed all that together - look at the picture-story below! 

To see Rosie's specially designed cage click HERE!

Click to enlarge the photos. Use the BACK-button of your browser to return!

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Photos 2 and 3: The beak from the front and the side - the upper mandible dirty, infected, with the bleeding bone visible. Notice the colour of the cere and the lores (round the eye) - should be yellow with an adult bird.

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Photos 4 and 5:  To avoid self-puncturing I always have the birds grip some leather during inspection. To calm her down Rosie is hooded.

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Photos 6 and 7: The beak is cleaned and a mild healing desinfectant is used.

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Photos 8 and 9: "Rosie" after almost eight months at my facility - together we have made a new beak for her: She grew it and I gave it the shape.

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Photos 10 and 11: Working on the beak with a file. 

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Photos 12 and 13: Applying a "moisturizing creme" - make-up for the lady! Note the colour of the falcon's talons - what a change!

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Photos 14 and 15: The difference! No further comment.

P. Mortem
Website and photos © Wolfgang Dolak, A-3943 Schrems, Dr. Friedrich Siller-Straße 26, AUSTRIA
Phone: 043/ 2853 76670 or 043/ 664 1707276
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