A feathered visitor needed a little bit of help last week

Being a wild animal is a tough job. There are all sorts of dangers out there they have to constantly look out for. Once in a while, those critters need some help from us.

Several nights ago, my wife and I were startled on a walk down the driveway in the dark. Something in the weeds off to the side of the road hissed at us. I shined my flashlight at the noise, and realized it was a raptor of some sort. I thought maybe it was sitting on a rodent or a rabbit it had killed, so we left it alone and went back to the house.

It was still there the next morning, though. We went up the driveway to see if it was hurt, and sure enough, it was having trouble using its right wing. It also looked like it had made a long, skidding landing on the gravel driveway, using the top of its head as a brake. All the feathers were rubbed off the right side of the top of its head.

We called the Game and Fish, and a very nice young wildlife technician named Parker Everhart came out to catch it, and he confirmed my guess that it was a prairie falcon. Those are pretty common, so I didn’t think they’d put much effort into saving it, but they sent it down to the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program, where the vets examined it and found it had a slight break in its shoulder and some bumps and bruises, likely from getting hit by a car.

They told us it would probably make a full recovery – it’ll just take time. The Raptor Program people said they’d keep me posted on that bird’s recovery. I was able to get some pretty cool pictures of it while it was sitting in the driveway, and I hope to be able to go down to Fort Collins and get some more pictures when they release it after it recovers.

There are a lot of things out there that wild animals have to watch out for. Once in a while, they need a little extra help from us.

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