Tucson Wildlife Center

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Kestrel falcon survives dog attack

This striking kestrel falcon is enjoying life back in the wild after surviving a dog attack that left him unable to fly. We are so thankful that the owner of the dog rescued the kestrel and took the time to contact us for help. He wouldn’t have survived otherwise.

When the kestrel first arrived at Tucson Wildlife Center he was missing a tremendous number of feathers, including his entire tail, and was suffering from a head tilt caused by neurological trauma. Our wildlife veterinarian soothed the colorful falcon with some pain relief medications and performed x-rays to confirm no broken bones. Although his body was in good condition, the concern was whether or not he would ever fly normally again. While birds lose and regrow feathers regularly, feather follicles can become permanently damaged when pulled out by the force of a predator.

After a couple of weeks of rehabilitation, we were reassured to see that his head tilt had subsided and his tail feathers were starting to show signs of growth! We were delighted there was no permanent scarring or damage. Little by little we watched patiently as his feathers grew in until we were able to test his flight for release. We observed in amazement as he flew beautifully!  He was released near where he was found for a second chance at life. Let’s hope he stays out of backyards with dogs from now on!

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For help and emergencies, please call our 24/7 helpline at (520) 290-9453.

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