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.
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 was taken good care of. I’m healthy and strong. I’m ready to face the whole world.
Autumn, the Barn Owl
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.
For more information about Fallen Feathers, please visit our website at www.fallenfeathers.org
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.