Regional Offices > Sheridan Region > Sheridan Region News > Peregrine falcon rescued in Gillette

Peregrine falcon rescued in Gillette

August 15, 2022
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Sheridan -

From Erika Peckham, Gillette Wildlife Biologist

In October 2021, I was contacted by Komatsu employees who were concerned about a hawk that was trapped in their warehouse. When I responded to the call, I took a quick look and saw that it was a falcon, before retreating outside to make a plan. Komatsu employees had kept the large garage doors open for as long as they could, but due to the high ceilings and many shelves, the falcon was unable to see or find a way out of the building and had been trapped for at least a day.

Komatsu staff were concerned for the welfare of the bird and were willing to allow access and cooperate in any way that they could to assist with getting the raptor out. After considering various approaches, I contacted my friend Vanessa Bridges whose father John Lindstrom is a licensed and experienced falconer in Spearfish, South Dakota, to see if he had any ideas. John dropped everything without question and headed immediately to Gillette with a plan in mind.

When John arrived a couple hours later, he identified the bird as a Tundra peregrine falcon. There are three subspecies of peregrines found in North America, the Tundra, Peale’s and Anatum. The Tundra peregrine nests in the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada and Greenland.

John and Vanessa had brought a live pigeon and a harness and tether for it. The plan was to harness the pigeon and use it to lure the falcon in. After being harnessed, the pigeon did not fly far - just a short distance overhead of the Komatsu employees who were waiting to assist as needed. The falcon did not hesitate for a second, and swooped overhead just feet above everyone.

The few people present were treated to seeing just how fast and aerodynamic peregrines are, in a closeness that very few people ever get to see. The pigeon flew behind a shelving unit and the peregrine followed. I was then able to corner the peregrine between the shelves and a wall. 

The pigeon was reined in unharmed and the falcon was successfully captured. After a physical assessment, it was found that the bird was underweight and migration would likely be difficult for it. John and I decided it would be best to overwinter the bird with a licensed bird rehabilitator.

The peregrine was successfully released in May 2022. Many thanks to John for sharing his time and years of knowledge, Vanessa for assisting and to Komatsu employees for their concern and assistance. We also appreciate the significant work by the bird rehabilitator who fed and cared for the falcon daily to make this the success story that it was.


- WGFD -

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