SardisRaptor Center obtains ‘unusual’ falcon

Published on Thu, Aug 23, 2007 by Jack Kintner

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Sardis Raptor Center obtains ‘unusual’ falcon

By Jack Kintner

Sardis Raptor Center on Valley View Road in Custer obtained an unusual Peregrine falcon last winter, and has begun showing it at their “Hunters of the Sky” programs in the area.

It’s a Tundra Peregrine, a crow-sized bird that normally breeds on the ground in the arctic tundra from western Alaska to Greenland and winters in Latin America.

It’s the same species as the Peale’s Peregrine falcons that are found in Whatcom County but is much lighter in color.

“It came to us from eastern Washington,” said Sardis Director Sharon Wolters, “and had jesses on its legs, indicating it was trained as a hunter.”

But difficulty in tracking the bird back to its owner and its unusual origins indicate that the bird might have been amateur trained, “as in poorly trained,” Wolters said.

Since it’s against federal law for anyone who’s not licensed to have such a bird, it made its way to Sardis last winter, just as Wolters and her staff were trying to save their facility from flood waters that inundated the first floor.

“We pretty much had to tear everything out back to the studs,” she said, “because of the water. We’ll end up in better shape than before, but it wasn’t easy.”

The Peregrine cannot be released, she said, because it’s been habituated to humans and will go to them for food.
For more information, or to volunteer, call Sardis at 366-3863 or go to their website at www.sardisraptor.org.