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Bird found injured by aircraft in July

TRENTON, N.J. - A peregrine falcon that underwent more than three months of rehabilitation at the Mercer County Wildlife Center was released back into the wild Oct. 28 at a ceremony at the Wildlife Center attended by members of the Mercer County Park Commission and volunteers at the Center. The Center treats about 2,000 “patients” each year and operates with the support of more than 100 volunteers.

The peregrine, a female, was banded on May 19, 2011 in a nest on the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge that spans Palmyra, N.J., and Philadelphia, as part of a banding and monitoring program being done by the New Jersey Endangered and Non-game Species Conservation program (ENSAC). The peregrine was 3 weeks old at the time of banding. Its nestmate, a male, also was banded at that time. The male peregrine was struck by a car in July and did not survive its injuries.

The female peregrine was found injured on the tarmac at Philadelphia International Airport on July 15, 2011. It is assumed that she collided with a plane or was caught in the draft of an aircraft. The bird was taken to the Schuylkill Wildlife Center in Philadelphia for triage and then was transferred the next day to Mercer County Wildlife Center in Titusville. The attending veterinarian at MCWC was Peter Batts, a volunteer at the Center since 1983. Radiographs were taken and showed a fractured right radius (the radius and ulna are the two bones between the elbow and wrist on both birds and humans) and a fractured upper mandible. The wing was wrapped in place (the ulna acted as a splint). Over the past three and half months, Wildlife Center staff rehabilitated the bird and monitored its progress, gradually giving it larger space for exercise. The bird has been in “large flight” for the past three weeks and is ready for migration.