SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre manager Dale Belvedere with Leanne the prairie falcon that spent the winter at the centre and is now free again. (Western News file photo)

Rare prairie falcon returned to the wild in the Kootenays

A falcon that spent the winter at the SORCO rehab centre was released back into the wild near Trail

Leanne, the rare prairie falcon that spent the winter at the SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre, is free once again after being released near Trail last week.

The bird was spotted in the West Kootenay city early last November and did not have any fear of humans when she was caught and because of the lateness of the time of year it was decided to keep her until the spring.

She then received some home care from veterinarian Dr. Leanne Sackney, who she was named after, before being turned over to SORCO manager Dale Belvedere.

Initial indications were the falcon, a species rarely seen in that region, may have come from Washington State and had been in the hands of an illegal falconer.

Upon examination it was found to have calluses on her legs, likely from Jesses, the thin leather straps used to tether the bird to the falconer.

Appeals to those involved in the sport south of the border did not turn up anyone who may have lost a falcon.

READ MORE: Friendly falcon now in residence at Okanagan raptor rehab centre

“We think it may have been somebody who just got fed up and let her go and it was so late in the year we had to keep her until last week when it got warm,” said Belvedere. “Because she was not afraid of people, we also had to get her wild again which she was when we released her.

READ MORE: Birds of a feather flock together at Okanagan raptor recovery centre open house

“When we were in the clinic talking she would lean her head and look around and try and find you cause she was used to voices so there had to be no contact whatsoever, basically just open the door and throw the food in.”

During the trip last week Belvedere also had the opportunity to release a pair of other raptors including a bald eagle and a sharpshinned hawk that had been in residence at SORCO that were caught in the same region.



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The prairie falcon released last week near Trail. (Western News file photo)

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