Earlier in June retrieved a juvenile from East London, a single sibling that I had been keeping an eye on at the nest site, its first flight did not go well unfortunately and it was found wandering at pavement level.
A lucky bird to avoid the Foxes, at the time of picking it up I decided to take it to South Essex Wildlife Hospital, obviously to get it checked and additionally I could not get it back to a high level near the nest site.
On being checked out at the Hospital the bird had a fungal infection and respiratory issues, it was not going to be a quick return.
Obviously being a single sibling I was hoping to get it back as soon as possible, however it was not healthy so it had to recover.
A concern also at this site was that the adults were not always present and often went awol for long periods on the outskirts of their territory, they were not your 100% tied to the nest site pairing.
For the bird to recover and regain its health took 11 days, by this time I was wondering being a single sibling would the bond still be there from the adults and would the adults be around on release.
Additionally would the adults, if present, accept the juvenile without reservation and not show aggression?
I decided in the end to foster it with a pair that I have done so twice before, it is the perfect site, the length of time was not worth the risk.They could have just accepted it back, if they were there, but if not it would not be good for the juvenile.
The foster pair are 100% tied to the building, it has a large roof for the juvenile to regain confidence and above all it would have 4 siblings to interact and learn from as well. These 4 juveniles we had also colour ringed on May 17th so identification of this juvenile would be straightforward thereafter.
I picked the bird up in the morning and we then gained access to the foster building roof under licence, a couple of the fledged juveniles were sitting around 100 metres away on another structure.
|Pale juvenile on left foster bird, 2nd bird went to Natal site same day|
On showing my face, enough to frighten anyone, the adult Falcon appeared and started to circle calling, I released the juvenile immediately so she made the visual connection.
I couldn’t have asked for a better release, she came even closer, the juvenile started to call on the roof and she even mock dived me, no doubt presuming that it was one of her ‘natural’ young.
I withdrew as quickly as possible and then watched from ground level; all good with the Falcon eventually alighting near the juvenile.
2 days later I checked the site and was pleased to see a juvenile amongst other juveniles flying round chasing the adult Falcon with prey, it had no colour ring so a successful fostering.
Instead of 4 they now have 5!