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Peregrine falcon released back into the wild

Last Wednesday night, a person walking along a street in Prescott, Wis., noticed something not normally seen. A young peregrine falcon was walking on the roadway and appeared to be injured.

The person put the bird in a box and later that same night, the Raptor Center in Minneapolis was contacted. The bird was taken to the center, where it was X-rayed and observed overnight.

Staff at the Raptor Center determined the bird was in fact healthy and by 2 p.m. the next day, staff at Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings had the honor of releasing the bird back into the wild.

When the bird was rescued, it was having a hard time flying, which could be due to a number of factors.

According to Jackie Fallon at the Midwest Peregrine Society, the bird was one of three chicks to be hatched on the bridge this season. The three hatched this year bring the total to 27 birds that have been hatched on the railroad bridge over the St. Croix River since 2006, when a nest first appeared.

The falcons are territorial. The next closest nest is at the 3M facility in Cottage Grove, Fallon said.

The mating pair of falcons has two nests on the railroad bridge, and they alternate between the two nests, Fallon said.

When the bird was released by CNC staff, it struggled at first to get out of the box, but it then took off and flew right back to its nest.

Peregrine falcons are the world's fastest animals, capable of traveling as fast as 200 mph when it descends.