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!