Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pittsburgh Pete

The Mountsberg Raptor Centre is pleased to announce the arrival of another new member of our education team-- and another Species at Risk ambassador, as well! Pittsburgh Pete is a peregrine falcon who has led a fascinating life since he hatched in 2006 on the Gulf Tower in Pittsburgh, PA. By 2008, Pete had made it up to Burlington, Ontario, where he established a nest on the Lift Bridge. While he and his mate were able to successfully raise a brood of chicks, Pete (also known to falcon watchers as '3/K' because of the identification band on his left leg) was attacked and badly injured by a rival male. Luckily, he recovered from his wounds-- thanks in part to his mate, who brought food to him while he was healing-- and his chicks fledged successfully. You can read more about Pete's family in the October 2008 (PDF - 7.64 MB) issue of The Wood Duck, published by the Hamilton Naturalists' Club.

Unfortunately, Pete's life was not about to get any easier. He was found grounded and unable to fly in November of 2008, and was picked up by Hamilton Animal Control Officer Judy Bailey. Close observation in captivity revealed the problem: Pete was having seizures, but no immediate cause for them was discovered during subsequent visits to a veterinarian. Because of this, Pete was declared non-releasable, and efforts were made to find him a permanent home. That's where Mountsberg enters the story!

Thanks to Judy Bailey's tireless efforts with his training and care, Pittsburgh Pete now has a new life as an educational ambassador; he will help teach the public about the plight of the peregrine falcon, and his story will bring immediacy to the fragile nature of Ontario's Species at Risk. We are proud to be able to provide Pete with a permanent home, and would like to thank everyone who has been involved in his saga: from the dedicated falcon watchers on both sides of the border to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, along with every individual link in the chain which brought this special falcon from the Gulf Tower all the way to the Raptor Centre.

Pete's story, of course, is far from over-- and you and your family can be a part of it! Come out to the park and see the birds at the Raptor Centre. Your visit will help to support Pete and others just like him, and ensure that we can continue to provide non-releasable birds of prey with a safe place to land!