It all started near the Agua Fria riverbed and Happy Valley, behind the Target plaza.
I live in the area. The expanse of hunting ground is good (screenprint from Google Maps).
I’m a prairie falcon. I am lighter colored than the peregrine falcon. I cruise at about 45 mph, at a little over 3 feet off the ground when I’m hunting. I fly faster when I have found my prey.
Today I was on the hunt and ran into some barbed wire. Not good news.
I am lucky. A lady walking her dog found me and called Fallen Feathers. Jody, their founder came to get me; it helps that she lives only minutes away. That was also fortunate for me as I was in serious need of medical treatment. The barbed wire cut me deeply on my leg and stomach. I have been at Fallen Feathers for two nights resting and healing. They put this annoying necklace on me so I can’t pick at my stitches. I don’t know how long I am going to be here, but I do know that next time, I’m shopping somewhere else for my food.
Duke, the prairie falcon
Update: Unfortunately Duke did not survive the severity of his injuries.
The beginning of the New Year means it’s almost baby bird season again. They have been fortunate the past few months to have the time to “get their ducks in a row”. If you have never been to Fallen Feathers before, the whole organization is operated out of a home. It is generous and loving and we birds appreciate it greatly.
Volunteers have been helpful with removing old broken equipment, building new aviaries and resealing existing aviaries.
While one of the goals of Fallen Feathers is to have a free standing facility in the northwest valley, there is still room to grow until that happens. Help is needed establishing watering throughout the aviaries and additional landscaping would be nice so that we birds have plenty of shade in any new aviaries.
A very generous donation of various bird items and statues was granted in late November. Everyone has been decorating the grounds celebrating the very creatures they are trying to help.
Today, another much needed donation arrived. A new trailer for hauling perches, displays and documents for the various public events that Fallen Feathers attends.
The holidays were good to Fallen Feathers, but they work hard and it is well deserved. They help over a thousand birds a year solely on donations and volunteers and it still isn’t enough to cover the need.
For now the gifts and the break are being enjoyed. Next month the babies will start coming in and everyone will be very busy for at least 6 months. As for me, time to find a place to cozy down and keep warm.
It’s seems like only days, but I have been at Fallen Feathers for over three months. My feathers are all in and I’m starting to fly. I’m not a baby any more so I don’t click for my food. I’ve started making other barn owl sounds, mainly my scream. We barn owls don’t hoot like other owls.
I don’t like being around the humans. I watch them carefully when it’s feeding time. Two days ago, one of the volunteers came into my habitat to take my picture. She told me I was beautiful. I tried to intimidate her with my wings and then I was ready to fly away too, if needed.
Today that same volunteer came and took me from my habitat and drove me away. I screamed at her to tell her how displeased I was but she told me that I would be fine and that I was going back home to see my parents. I was being released.
I don’t like car rides but it was worth it. I saw the man who took me to Fallen Feathers. He was very excited to have me back in the area. He told us where my parents live and said that I have a sibling that just started flying too. I hope they will welcome me back.
I don’t want to jinx anything, but it’s been a little quiet around Fallen Feathers these days. The last of the baby doves and pigeons are grown. Most of the intakes now are injured birds. It’s time to get projects done. Volunteers have been building new aviaries and taking down old structures that no longer fit our needs. We are “cleaning house”.
For two of us, it’s also our very lucky day. Today is the day that I get released. I’m Charles, the Coot. I’m also called a mud hen. I’m a water fowl that has a chicken like beak but webbed feet. I was rescued by the Brophy College Preparatory Rowing Team at Tempe Town Lake and brought all the way up to Fallen Feathers. Mac, the coach checks on me regularly, makes me feel very special.
Charles, the Coot and Mel, the Mallard
Charles, the Coot was very excited to be released and quickly joined up with fellow coots in the pond. Meanwhile, Mel, the Mallard, casually surveyed the area before joining the flock.
Usually, at least. Yesterday, however, I made an appearance at Local First Fall Festival in Downtown Phoenix.
I had been shot and my wound had been left for 5 days and then I was taken to Fallen Feathers. I was taken for medical treatment and I lost my wing. I’m happy to be alive and I’ve been an Education Bird for 17 years now. I go to events to help Jody talk about the Rescue and Rehabilitation work that they do every day.
I’m one of eight birds that regularly come out to events. Fallen Feathers has owls, hawks, falcons, a vulture and a raven. I’m the oldest.
Every year I also teach about a dozen baby great horned owls the ways of the world, how to hunt, how to eat.
It’s a tough job, but some owl has to do it so they can survive when they go back into the wild.
As for today, I watch the other birds. I watch our volunteers. I watch the people taking pictures of me and the people waking by. I turn my head left and right, the full 270 degrees that I can. I watch everything.
I’m not really sure what happened, but I found myself in the dark in a cage at a strange place.
After the sun came up, a family came by and I was scooped up and brought inside where I was looked at, felt, wings stretched out and then put in a warm aquarium. This whole process was a bit scary but the people seemed very excited about my arrival and they were gentle with me.
A little bit later I was fed and it was tasty.
It’s been a week and I’m still here at Fallen Feathers. The Lady who answers the phone, Jody, lives here, it’s her home. She takes care of us all.
I don’t see Mom or Dad anymore but I get the care I need. I’m kept warm. I get food. I see other birds around me getting the same treatment only they don’t look like me. They don’t eat the same things I eat. I’m bigger than they are.
I’m growing fast. Most of my fluff is disappearing and my feathers are growing in.
The lady that brought me inside from the cage visited today. She is a volunteer. She told me when I get bigger and my feathers are all in that I’ll learn to fly that she hopes I’ll be “releasable”. I don’t know what that means yet, but it sounds nice.