Stolen peregrine rehabbed and released back to the wild in Suffolk

Press release from Suffolk Constabulary (13th December 2022):

Helping peregrine back into the wild

A peregrine falcon that had been unlawfully taken from a nest and located by Suffolk Police has now been released back in the wild.

The protected bird of prey was looked after by wildlife expert Peter Merchant, who was contacted by officers of the Force’s Rural & Wildlife Team after it was found during a search of an address in Lowestoft in June this year.

Peter looked after the bird with minimal human contact and trained it to hunt, ensuring it was suitable for release. This has now been done in a secret location in the county.

Sgt Brian Calver, who leads the Rural & Wildlife Team, said: “It is illegal to take a bird from the wild. We suspect the birds from this nest were taken for financial gain and it is down to the vigilance of the public and by reporting this to us that this bird has been fortunate enough to be returned to the wild, where he should be. We would like to thank Peter for his help. His knowledge and experience were instrumental in ensuring the safe release of this wonderful bird.

We would encourage the public to notify us of any suspected criminal activity regarding wildlife. Nature cannot speak up for itself and needs us to be their eyes and ears.

Peter Merchant has four decades of experience of recovering and rehabilitating birds of prey under licence. Thanks to his skill and vigilance 25 peregrine falcons have been released back into the wild.

Peter said: “This latest situation came about because a person without licence retained a schedule 1 protected bird of prey. The early fledged youngster would, under normal circumstances, have been returned to its parental group but the period of delay before the bird was recovered meant this was not possible. This was why a considerable period of rehabilitation was needed.

The bird was isolated from human contact in an exercise pen and fed on a controlled diet with prey items which closely simulate the ground-feeding birds it will eventually encounter. In early November it was transferred to a purpose-built release pen and I want to thank the local landowner and his wildlife associates for their care and dedication. We all then had the satisfaction of seeing the bird released into the wild.”


Presumably this is the same peregrine that featured on this blog in June 2022 (here).

Great work by everyone involved in this rescue, recovery and release!

5 thoughts on “Stolen peregrine rehabbed and released back to the wild in Suffolk”

  1. Congratulations to all involved in this rescue it’s a great shame wildlife cannot be left alone to get on with it.

  2. This story is so inaccurate and self serving to the relevant organisations involved that it begs belief.
    Firstly there is no factual evidence that the peregrine in question was stolen in the first place, the nest is xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx It was told that the bird was fished from the river near Asda in yarmouth where it then was taken to a friend of mine. He contacted myself for advice and long story short it was collected by a reputable wildlife rescue and delivered to me for rehab. This was also acknowledged by a leading avian and exotic vet.
    Initially the bird was found to be in good condition if not a touch underweight. It was fed a good diet until I could start it’s journey back to the wild.
    The RSPB were contacted in regards to its ring number to ascertain its age and APHA registration for a license was applied for at my own cost.
    Before I could start the birds training I was raided by the police at 7.30 in the morning by four wildlife officers, xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxx xxxxx. I am not going into details there, but the officers were ten years out of date in their knowledge of CITIES laws in regard to peregrines and even tried to say my birds were illegal.
    The only reason the bird was siezed was clerical and the bird was transfered to Peter Merchant by way of a community order.
    To rehab a eyas peregrine that cannot be returned to the nest involves ensuring the bird can fend for itself, which ultimately means hunt. I would have ensured this by way of flying it to gain fitness and hunt it until I was satisfied it could fend for itself. It would have then been hacked back and released.
    I would seriously doubt the bird is still alive but that’s OK, let’s keep the media coverage going and the public opinion in, as well as the donations to said organisation.
    Secondly, male peregrines have little or no monetary value so financial loss would have been incurred. I am already £21 plus whatever foods and medication the bird had.
    The EDP have been fed a story of back patting utter garbage.

  3. What a load of old tosh! I know the person involved and this whole story is totally fabricated. The police know it was found out of the nest in a life endangering situation to the bird. It was then taken to a wildlife centre eawho then gave it to an experienced falconer who was going to train it to hunt, not on dead ground food as was done here. This is a death sentence for this perigrin as it will now only look for dead food.
    The police know it wasn’t held for financial gain.
    If this bird could have been returned to the nest it would have been, if in fact the whereabouts of the nest was known.
    The authorities were notified when the bird was in the persons hands, in Lowestoft and it was down to a minor technical error why the bird was removed from Lowestoft.

    Not such a great story when the facts are known is it.

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