Long Melford peregrine falcon: Shot bird 'should return to wild'

Peregrine falcon Image copyright Raptor foundation
Image caption The falcon has been flying outdoors on a line at the rescue centre near St Ives

A bird of prey found shot in Suffolk last summer should be well enough to be released back into the wild later this year, experts have said.

The juvenile peregrine falcon was discovered injured in Long Melford.

The Raptor Foundation, which is caring for the bird in Cambridgeshire, said its wings were healing and it was now flying outdoors on a line.

The person responsible for shooting the bird has not been found, despite the offer of a £1,000 reward.

The female falcon, which is a protected species, was found in a field with lead shot injuries to her torso, a wing and a talon on 20 August.

She was initially cared for at Lavenham Falconry in Suffolk before being transferred to the Raptor Foundation at Woodhurst near St Ives..

Image copyright Mulberry court veterinary surgery
Image caption An X-ray showed lead shot (white dots) in the peregrine's right wing and torso
Image copyright Raptor Foundation
Image caption Simon Dudhill and the Raptor Foundation have been caring for the bird since September

'Moulting' feathers

Simon Dudhill, administrator at Woodhurst, said: "It's great she's doing more limited flying and she's built up her chest muscles to compensate for the lack of wing feathers.

"She needs to moult the damaged feathers and then new ones should grow back within six weeks when we will be able to start letting her fly without a line.

"As she get stronger and fitter, there will be a time when she decides not to come back, but we're confident she will be able to return to the wild at the end of summer."

An identifying ring will be attached to the falcon when she is finally released.

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