Dr. John Hitron and Rod Gasche attempted on Monday to release back to the wild a young male peregrine falcon on the eastern end of Dr. Julian Bruce St. George Island State Park where it was found last month by a park ranger. He had been injured, was weak from lack of food and parasites. Chris Beatty and her staff at the Florida Wild Mammal Association cared for it and felt he should be allowed to attempt to return to where he belongs - in the wild!
He was actively trying to leave his confinement so when we opened the door and stood back he quickly headed out into the sand dunes. Much to our sorrow he was unable to fly well enough to survive. He strived several times to rise above the tops of the grasses and bushes but was unable to get up. Because of coyotes on the island, the men were afraid that if left the falcon would never survive them, let alone be able to feed himself as he could not continue to soar for his food. After a few attempts to recapture him, the bird tired and Gasche was able to toss a tablecloth over him and return him back to the safety of his shelter. Beatty and her volunteer staff will do further tests and continue to work on the falcon’s health until he can take care of himself in his own realm.