Peregrine falcon released after recovery from broken bones

By Sallie Graziano- February 26, 2016 (

UNION TWP. — It took just seconds for a peregrine falcon to disappear over Spruce Run Reservoir following his release Friday morning.

The bird, a second-year adult male, was rehabilitated by the Millington-based Raptor Trust after being found severely injured in the yard of a Roxbury resident.

Joseph Bourlier alerted the raptor trust on Nov. 1 about the injured falcon. The trust’s Chris Soucy said at first, they didn’t think the bird would have a good chance of surviving in the wild.

“The biggest challenge was medical,” he said Friday. Bones that support the bird’s wings and chest were broken.

“They’re moving parts,” he said, noting that the fractures couldn’t be pinned like a leg bone fracture. “But we were hoping the bird was young enough to heal quickly, and it did.”

Nearly four months later, Soucy and Kathy Clark, supervising zoologist with the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program, banded the bird on the grounds of the Clinton Area Wildlife Management area.

Then Clark let the bird go, and it cleared the treeline in seconds.

“It’s very gratifying,” Clark said, beaming. She called the recovery of peregrine falcon populations “one of our great success stories.”

Peregrines were “completely wiped out in the wild by the 1960s due to the effects of DDT,” she said. There are now about 30 pairs nesting in New Jersey.

The Jersey City Falcon Cam, operated by Conserve Wildlife N.J., captures the annual life cycle of a family of endangered peregrine falcons living on a skyscraper. It’s in its 16th season of 24/7 live streaming video.

Clark noted that wildlife check-off funds garnered from donations on tax forms help to support wildlife conservation programs in New Jersey.