Phoenix: peregrine falcon
Phoenix arrived at the California Raptor Center in October of 2017 as a hatch year bird. She was first sighted alongside a country road in Woodland, CA by a Good Samaritan who was unable to stop and investigate at the time. A few days later, when the Good Samaritan passed the same spot again, he saw the falcon still down on the ground, and decided to bring the bird to the CRC.
Phoenix was extremely emaciated and showed signs of an injury to her left elbow. CRC staff immediately sent her to the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for treatment. Because the bird was so weak and starved, staff were not optimistic that she would survive.
Amazingly, Phoenix overcame the odds and returned to the CRC for continued rehabilitation of her wing. Though her left wing showed no overt breaks, it continued to droop, indicative of muscle, tissue, or nerve damage. Phoenix also had to be treated for a condition called bumblefoot (an infection of the pad of the foot and toes).
To ease the process of applying ointment to the bird’s feet, a CRC volunteer with a background in falconry started the process of “manning” her to the glove. She proved to be very calm for a falcon; falcons are notoriously stress-prone, but Phoenix adjusted quickly. When it became clear that her injured elbow would render her non-releasable, Phoenix began training to be an educational ambassador bird. She now comes out in front of visitors delighting crowds by scarfing down food tidbits while standing on glove.
Phoenix earned her name because she overcame adversity and was “reborn” into a new life as an educational ambassador for her species, much like the legendary phoenix is cyclically reborn from the ashes.