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Richmond Falcon Cam

Injury to Female Falcon’s Beak

  • March 28th, 2023

Some viewers may have noticed that the beak of the female (95/AK) is currently more blunt than that of the male falcon. This is the result of an injury that occurred prior to the launch of the Falcon Cam. Though we have no way of knowing the specific circumstances that led to the injury, it was almost certainly caused by some sort of collision.

The sharp tip of hooked raptor beaks helps them to consume their prey by allowing them to tear off small bits of flesh. Even with the tip of her beak missing, the female appears to be in great body condition and is behaving normally, which indicates that she has been able to successfully feed herself. Despite the injury, we anticipate that she will still be able to contribute, along with her mate, to hunting for and feeding any chicks that are hatched. We also expect that, over time, the bill will regrow through the growth of the outer hornlike layer of keratin, the same protein that makes up human hair and fingernails. The extent to which the bill will look as it did originally will depend in part on whether the underlying bone was damaged.

At this moment we do not intend to intervene by attempting to remove the female for rehabilitation. There is currently no indication that intervention is necessary, and attempting to capture the bird at this urban site carries risks. In addition, removal of the bird would most likely lead to nest failure. That being said, we will be continuing to monitor her progress and will reevaluate this decision if needed.