By Mike Busch

Back on November 21st, I rolled up on a Peregrine Falcon struggling with a nice sized bird that turned out to be an American Woodcock on the Smith Point Outer Beach.  Since I have only seen one Woodcock in the wild this was a setting up as something a little out of the ordinary.  The Falcon didn’t seem to be bothered by me or my truck and started to work on his breakfast while I tried to get a few shots.  For some reason I had a focusing problem and even in perfect light ended up with some soft shots but I did get a few clear looks at the black and green leg band.    Just when I was about to start shooting some video, another 4×4 charged up and flushed the bird.

When I got home and processed the shots I could clearly see the numbers on the band and reported them to Barbara Saunders of the NY State DEC Endangered Species Program.   The last Peregrine I reported  to Barbara showed up in Wertheim after fledging in Pittsburgh!

Within a week Barbara got back to me, reporting the bird was a juvenile female is originally from a nest in Atlantic City, NJ and was banded by Kathy Clark, NJ DEP.  Here is her feedback:

“BD/95 (1947-31859) is from a nest in Atlantic City, but she had an early head injury so she went through rehab and was fostered into a nest near Manahawkin, where she fledged.  Glad to hear she made it, because we saw her only once after fledging and weren’t sure.”

It turns out this young female is named Freaky and offers a great tale of survival against some very tough odds.  


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