The hack boxes are dismantled, the Birds of Prey Northwest crew has returned to Idaho and to colleges, and we have the last remaining Peregrine hanging around downtown Rapid City. Rio, re-released August 17th, visits the rooftop once or twice a day. We're feeding her smaller portions of quail, encouraging her to hunt on her own. It's with relief we see her as confirmation she is still an active bird, but also with some anxiety, wanting to make sure she's going to do well in her upcoming migration. The days are getting shorter, the nights cooler, and the biological indicators in her brain will send her south in the coming few weeks.
The 2010 Reintroduction project was a success. With only one confirmed mortality, we achieved solid results. Even though statistics say the majority of our 20 will not survive their first year, we can look to our northern neighbors in Fargo, ND. One of their first releases, who bolted immediately upon release, wasn't seen again for a couple years. Mature and ready to begin his adult responsibilities, he returned to sire many of the peregrines who now call Fargo home.
As our new friends are flying south, I'm driving west to visit the Birds of Prey Northwest Rehabilitation Ranch near Coeur d'Alene, ID. A full week observing Janie Fink as she rehabilitates and releases other birds of prey into the wild is in store. I'm sure there will also be some chores like cleaning aviaries. I no longer say "eeew!" at bird droppings and can give you a healthy or not so healthy indication by looking at them. I am also looking forward to some hiking and certainly planning for our 2012 project. I can't wait to share my trip pictures with you!