Bird Watching

A Good Samaritan saves a young falcon from the waters under the Bay Bridge



Barely a few months old, a pint-sized raptor was caught by a well-meaning passerby on Friday, the bird – who was later discovered to be “Rachel”, a young peregrine falcon born and raised on the PG&E Building – was finally handed over to the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD).

It has been, quite literally, a wild week in the Bay Area. A big black bear was found a tree in Marin County – one of only three bears to be seen in the county since 2003; a two-year-old mountain lion was found wandering around Bernal Heights before finally being tranquilized and released elsewhere; another dead whale stranded in the area, this time at Pacifica State Beach. And on Friday, a baby hawk was rescued from the Bay Area waters by a Good Samaritan.

“Last night # SFFDFS35 received an unexpected visitor,” the department tweeted on Saturday. “This ‘month old’ baby Falcon was rescued by a Good Samaritan out of the water in the bay and delivered to us.

Named “Rachel,” the young peregrine falcon was, in fact, one of the most popular birds atop the PG&E building that people watched mature on a webcam channel. The young falcon had taken flight earlier in the week but was seen in a nearby building not too far from its nest. Rachel’s brothers Cade and Andy had also fled the nest in the past few days, although Andy was still seen frequenting the nest after flying around nearby structures.

Rachel’s latest flight, however, was far less successful – she found herself in the water under the Bay Bridge on Friday. But luckily, she was rescued by said Good Samaritan and later received a “good health” from the animal rescue agency where she was taken before being released to her nesting site.

“We just learned from Bay Area Raptor Rescue that the Falcon is in good health and will be released to its nesting area,” the SFFD tweet continued.

It should be noted that if you encounter a wild animal in distress, it is best to avoid intervening when possible. To report wildlife in distress, call the San Francisco Animal Care & Control shipping number at (415) 554-9400; animal control officers are available between 6 a.m. and noon, seven days a week.

The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), also known as the “pilgrim,” is the world’s fastest bird, able to dive into the sky to capture prey at 240 mph. And unlike other birds of prey, like California condors, these birds have been shown to be incredibly adaptable to human activity and have successfully carved out a surviving, smackdab-like life for themselves amid concrete jungles across the country.

Related: SF downtown peregrine falcon brood remains healthy, four well-fed chicks

Image: Courtesy of Twitter / @ SFFDPIO