A rare peregrine falcon finally flew home from North Texas to Canada Thursday – but not on her own.
"I'm so glad she's getting to go back to where she belongs," said Kathy Rogers, who nursed 5-year-old Beatrix back to health at the Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Hutchins.
Blinded by a March hailstorm migrating from Mexico to her home in Winnipeg, Canada, Beatrix quickly regained her sight.
But she remains too weak to make the 1,300 mile flight home herself.
“It would be just like a marathon runner that’s been locked up in a closet for six months,” said Rogers.
American Airlines arranged to fly Beatrix home through Toronto. After months spent working to secure all the needed paperwork from both Canada and U.S. authorities, Rogers was finally able to board the plane with Beatrix in the seat beside her, safely secured in a pet carrier.
“I don’t think it’s ever been done, returning a wild Canadian bird back to Canad. Apparently that’s never been done before,” said Rogers. “I’m ready to turn her over to someone else at this point.”
A band on Beatrix's leg led Rogers to the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project in Manitoba, which says Beatrix is something of a local celebrity.
"We have web cams on that particular nest site, so people are able to watch and watch her grow up," said Tracy Maconachie, project coordinator with the Manitoba Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project.
"We had a contest to name the chicks and her name was chosen from amongst a whole bunch of names for her," Maconachie added.
Beatrix will miss the fall migration to Mexico, and will instead spend the winter in Canada with more rehabilitation to get ready for the next breeding season there.