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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Young Peregrine

Recently I visited one of my regular sites checking up on a juvenile male peregrine, the resident pair had only produced the one this year, I was following his progress closely to see when he would leave and make his way in the world.
On arrival a very sad sight greeted me, he was still present, flying round as normal but his left leg was broken and hanging down, it was also quite obvious that the injury impaired his flying and his landing ability .It appeared to be broken where it joined the body.

The juvenile with the leg held out in front of him
For many other species – pigeon, black headed gull etc., this could possibly be something that they could overcome, to a bird of prey like a peregrine the injury will very likely be the end for him. The leg will hinder him catching prey, he will lose speed and manoeuvrability in the chase, and if he does manage to catch prey it will be very hard to balance, hold the prey, and feed on one leg.
If he does survive Bumble foot could be an issue as Peregrines, as do many birds of prey alternate their leg they are resting on.

Watching him this morning was a sad affair as the adults are starting to hold prey back, this is his message to go, and without prey he will soon lose condition and deteriorate.
What caused it? – he has now been flying for over 2 months so his flight ability is not that of a recently fledged bird, the likely causes could be chasing prey and hitting an obstacle in pursuit of prey or he has wandered into another pairs territory and been attacked by one or both resident birds.

A sad sight
I have let NaturalEngland know but the kindest thing may be to put him out of his misery to stop him suffering. While I am awaiting an answer, if he does leave the natal site and is seen elsewhere in London or Essex I would appreciate a call of his whereabouts, you can contact me on or leave a message at the bottom of this entry.

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