Several weeks ago, we received a juvenile Merlin falcon after she collided with a window — we suspect at considerable speed. Small but fierce predators between a robin and a crow in size, Merlins rely on a burst of speed and surprise to catch other birds, and this unfortunate bird’s burst of speed took her right into a window.
When she arrived at our center, the Merlin could barely stand, much less fly, and would fall over constantly and pitifully in her enclosure. Also very highly stressed, she wouldn’t eat anything and would cry loudly whenever anyone approached her cage.
The veterinarian began treating the falcon with pain and anti-inflammatory medications, as well as with therapy for possible lead exposure, a common malady among urban raptors. Radiographs eventually disclosed a possible fracture in the left scapula, which appeared to be healing on its own. The doctor added acupuncture and LED light therapy to the bird’s treatment regimen and was encouraged when the Merlin finally began to show interest in food. Within a few weeks, she became a voracious eater.
But flight testing was not going well. The Merlin could only get about a foot off the ground and tired easily. The veterinarian continued the course of treatments and, after about six weeks in the center, the falcon began to regain the ability to fly well.
In late October the Merlin was well enough to be released. She soared off into the treetops and never looked back. We wish you safer travels, tiny falcon!