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Injured bird is on the wing again
A PEREGRINE falcon, which was found in a field injured and unable to fly, has been released back into the wild after a Knutsford vets rebuilt its shattered wing.
Richard Jones, who works at Avian Veterinary Service on Manchester Road, repaired the bird’s broken wing, and said it was an emotional moment as the bird took to the skies again.
“He seemed to know exactly where he was heading,” he said.
The wounded bird had been found by a member of the public in February, and Richard discovered it had been shot.
Staff at Wild Wings Birds of Prey centre in Worsley took the injured bird to the vets based at the same site as the Gauntlet Birds of Prey centre at Knutsford where Richard works.
X-rays carried out under anaesthetic revealed a fractured wing bone and major soft tissue damage.
Over the next few weeks the bird’s wounds were treated, and it underwent a course of antibiotics.
Thankfully only one of the two bones in the bird’s ‘forearm’ had been broken, which meant that the other could act as an effective internal splint.
“That was important for maintaining wing length,” said Richard, a falconer and vet who trained at the Raptor centre at the University of Minnesota.
Once the wounds had healed the bird was transferred to RSPCA Stapeley Grange wildlife hospital near Nantwich, where it spent four weeks in an isolation unit.
It underwent a course of natural ‘physiotherapy’ to gain use of its wing.
Although by then the bone had healed, the falcon was still not ready to be released into the wild.
Richard said: “As peregrines rely almost exclusively on fast- flying prey such as pigeons, it needed to regain full fitness if it was to have a fighting chance of survival in the wild.
“It was amazing and quite emotional to see him power into the wind, land briefly on top of a pylon to once again survey his territory, then head off with purpose.”