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Regional Interests

A happy ending for beleaguered falcon chick, ‘Princess’

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.

“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.

After three months of rehabilitation at the Cascade Raptor Center, a peregrine falcon returns to the wild.
Cascade Raptor Center /
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After three months of rehabilitation at the Cascade Raptor Center, a peregrine falcon returns to the wild.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting