WATSONVILLE -- A peregrine falcon is recovering at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley after he was found with gunshot wounds near Watsonville Municipal Airport on Thanksgiving Day.
Ashley Kinney, wildlife rehabilitation supervisor, said the prognosis for the adult male bird was "guarded."
"We're keeping our hopes up," Kinney said. "He's holding his wings in a normal position and standing and eating. If the vets can stabilize the wing, we can set him free soon."
The falcon is due to see an avian veterinarian Wednesday, she said.
Kinney said the bird was shot in the right leg with what they believe was a pellet gun. The pellet exited through the right shoulder. She said the shooting likely occurred within 24 to 48 hours before the bird was found by an area resident.
American peregrine falcons once were on the federal list of endangered species, but with the help of recovery groups, including the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group at UC Santa Cruz, the species increased in population and it was removed from the list in 1999.
But Kinney said the peregrine falcon remains a "species of special concern." It is protected under the federal Migratory Bird Act, and harming one is against the law. The shooting was reported to federal and state wildlife authorities, she said.