North East Wales

Falcon chick's new home after Denbighshire rescue

Peregrine chick undergoes treatment
Image caption On the operating table... the peregrine chick undergoes treatment

A team of experts and volunteers have rescued an injured peregrine falcon chick, finding it a new foster home 300 miles (482km) away.

The saga began when the bird fell from its rocky ledge in Henllan, Denbighshire, needing surgery.

Rescuers then found its parents had left the nest, and began a search for a suitable new home with other chicks.

Now, it is back in the wild with new peregrine parents and other chicks - in Scotland.

Image caption On the mend... the peregrine falcon chick

The saga started when climbers came across the injured bird in Henllan, near Denbigh, earlier this month.

They carried it to a local vets before specialists at nearby North Wales Raptor Rescue, near Ruthin, were called in.

Gary Dickinson, who runs the centre, drove it to specialist Liverpool-based vet Alan Humphreys who cleaned its wounds and "carefully stitched its paper-like skin".

'Chick's best chance'

After recovering from its anaesthetic and surgery, it was transferred back to the rescue centre for rehabilitation before Mr Dickinson and partner Jane tried to return its to its nest or scrape, abseiling down to the ledge above where it was found.

Finding the scrape empty, they sought advice from Llanwrst-born falconer and vet Richard Jones now based at Avian Veterinary Services, Cheshire.

He has worked at a specialist bird rehabilitation facility in the US, and said the chick's best chance of survival was to get it back in the wild.

"Plan B was to try and track down some foster parents as, fortunately, falcons can't count," said Mr Jones, adding peregrine falcons will feed another hungry mouth as "one of their own".

After numerous phone calls to falconers, birdwatchers and wildlife agencies, he spokes with James Leonard from the RSPB who works ringing and monitoring wild peregrines.

Image caption On the nest... the rescued chick is placed with its new family - in Scotland

He knew of a number of possible sites and so began a "transport relay team" involving three people covering 300 miles, said Mr Jones.

"Thankfully, because of the quick action and cooperation of all involved the bird has now settled into his new family and, fingers crossed, will fledge with its adopted brothers and sisters in July."

The chick is in a reserve in central Scotland, which is not being named.

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