Peregrine falcon chick rescued from Ipswich Waterfront is re-released
PUBLISHED: 21:25 21 June 2016 | UPDATED: 21:25 21 June 2016
A policeman who helped rescue a peregrine falcon chick from Ipswich Waterfront was on hand to witness her re-release to her family.
Sergeant Darren Harris led a team last Monday, June 13, in saving the young bird after it had apparently fallen from her nest at the top of The Mill.
After being alerted by a passer-by, Suffolk Constabulary’s Sgt Harris tried to get the bird from the flower box it was perched on in Foundry Lane into a cardboard box to take it to safety.
But the rescue became more complicated after the chick tried to make its escape, and ended up in the marina flapping its way under a culvert – forcing a nearby resident to wade in and save it with the help of a police dog handler’s stick.
Sgt Harris said: “It was so good to be able to rescue her.
“This is the most unusual thing involving animals I have had to do in my 17 years of service.”
Fortunately Sgt Harris is friends with a falconer of more than 40 years’ experience Tony James, from Bucklesham, who was able to nurse the bird of prey – thought to be just six weeks old when found – back into health.
Treatment started with being warmed up on top of an Aga oven.
Just nine days later Sgt Harris, Mr James and other falconers were on-hand to witness the chick make her maiden flight and return to her family tonight.
“She is looking a lot better today,” said Sgt Harris.
“It was a great experience to come and hold her and see her fly off. It was a lovely sight, though a little bit worrying too.”
Mr James, 53, said: “As she took off I felt desperate hope she would be OK. When she came to me she was almost dead, and I was grateful Darren knows me.
“It is promising that she took off, and it is nice to see her looking relaxed. It would have broken my heart to see her distressed.
“The environment here is very difficult for falcons – although they have been here for some time now, there are unyielding surfaces in this world of concrete, Tarmac and traffic, just the opposite of their natural wild environment.”
Peregrine falcons are the fastest thing on Earth, able to fly at more than 200mph when diving for prey, and became a protected species in 1981.
Nick Kester, president of the British Falconers’ Club, came from West Suffolk to watch the release.
He added: “It really is evidence falconers can provide the solution which a lot of people can’t.
“It is a skill falconers have learnt over thousands of years.”