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A Happy Ending For Beleaguered Falcon Chick, 'Princess'

Cascades Raptor Center

A dramatic saga involving the lone surviving peregrine falcon chick from a nest near Yaquina Head Lighthouse, on the Oregon coast, has a happy ending. We report on the rehabilitation and release of “Princess.”    

A webcam focused on a nest near Newport drew thousands of viewers last June. But they became mortified as three chicks fell out and died after the parents left them to fend on their own.  The fourth was rescued, and sent to Eugene’s Cascades Raptor Center.  

Credit Cascades Raptor Center
'Princess' takes off.

“When we got Princess, she was a little emaciated, and pretty weak,” said the center's executive director, Louise Shimmel. 

Over the course of 91 days, a veteran falconer rehabilitated the chick. Then last week, Princess was released back into the wild near Cape Perpetua. 

The whole episode - while ending on a positive note - illustrates the conflict that surrounds nest cams and agencies' decisions on whether to intervene or not.  Shimmel says letting nature take its course often confuses and upsets online audiences.

“And part of that is they don’t necessarily understand the nature of it all, that these things happen," continued Shimmel.

"And there are a lot of nest cams around the world where they’ve stopped taking comments because if they do decide not to intervene in a situation like this, they get death threats.” 

Princess’ release is posted on the Cascade Raptor Center’s Facebook page.  Shimmel also acknowledged the assistance of the Oregon Coast Aquarium in the bird's rescue.

Copyright 2021, KLCC. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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