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178th Airmen help save a falcon

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Amber Mullen
  • 178th Wing

Airmen at the 178th Wing discovered a peregrine falcon Sept. 5 that was migrating south for the winter. The falcon had sustained injuries that inhibited his ability to fly.

“When the wind picked up, he tried to take flight but he couldn’t extend his left wing,” said Tech. Sgt. Mario Jimenez, a commander’s support staff assigned to the 178th Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Group. “He didn’t take off so he was just hopping. It was pretty evident he couldn’t fly.”

Airmen at the 178th Wing decided to take action and reach out to Glen Helen Raptor Center to get the bird the help he needed. The Glen Helen Raptor Center is a local raptor rehabilitation center with the goal of releasing birds back into the wild.

Upon arrival, Glen Helen performed an initial inspection of the bird to assess his injuries. This included performing a basic physical exam that checked the bird’s eyes, mouth, legs, wings and body to determine his injuries. The assessment concluded that the falcon had broken the metacarpals in his left wing. Due to this, rehabilitation started immediately.

In order to nurse the falcon back to health, the bird was given pain medication to reduce the swelling and his wing was wrapped to provide support for healing. As his healing progressed, the falcon was slowly moved to larger cages until he was finally cleared to be released. 

On Oct.10, five weeks after his rehabilitation began, the falcon was released at Springfield Air National Guard Base in order to continue his migration south.  

“We like to release [wildlife] in the same area if at all possible”, said Rebecca Jaramillo, the director at the Glen Helen Raptor Center. “There’s value to the local ecosystem to keep everything in balance.”