As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Peregrine falcon that lived in Manayunk steeple found dead with severed leg. Did a drone do it?

by Frank Kummer, Updated: September 18, 2019
Judy Stepenaskie, an amateur but avid bird-watcher, was thrilled in 2011 when a pair of peregrine falcons began nesting in the steeple of St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Manayunk.
The birds of prey had been all but eradicated in the Philadelphia area for decades but were making a comeback at the time. Having a pair locally gave Stepenaskie a rare chance to observe them up close for years.
So Stepenaskie was crushed last week to learn that the 10-year-old male, whom she had been calling Manny after his adopted hometown, turned up dead. Mysteriously, his leg was cleanly severed. Peregrine falcons live high up and face few real predators in an urban environment.
“I was really upset. It’s really sad. He was such a good dad,” Stepenaskie said in reference to Manny’s vigilance each time his mate gave birth over the years.
Mike Weilbacher, executive director for the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia, said the bird was brought to the center’s wildlife clinic on Sept. 11 after a woman had found it in her yard in Roxborough.
“It was unusual because the leg was severed so cleanly,” said Weilbacher. The clinic is still awaiting a necropsy expected to be performed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, so an immediate cause of death was not yet available. The bird is being preserved in a freezer at the clinic.

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