Injured peregrine falcon, ‘Hope,’ rescued by Hoo Haven wildlife center

The 1-year-old raptor will now serve as an educational bird.
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 6:57 PM CDT
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DURAND, Ill. (WIFR) - Stateline residents will soon have the chance to be up close and personal with one of Rockford’s official birds after a peregrine falcon was found injured inside a local factory.

According to Karen Herdklotz, director of Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center in Durand, the 1-year-old falcon–named Hope by a local bird group–accidentally flew through a commercial garage door last August.

“She actually had an injured foot, an injured leg, an injured wing, all on the right side,” Herdklotz.

The bird, hatched last spring near the top of the former Rockford Register Star News Tower in downtown Rockford, would have likely died, Herdklotz said. Instead, a stateline resident brought Hope to Hoo Haven.

Although Hope has recovered, she’ll never be strong enough to fend for herself.

“After everybody looked at her, she was deemed not releasable,” Herdklotz said.

That means Hope will spend the rest of her days living at the 20-acre facility with other birds of prey like hawks, eagles, and owls.

“We will make sure as time goes on and she’s comfortable, the community can, in fact, see her,” Herdklotz said.

The plan is for Hope to serve as an educational bird and visit schools, fairs, and other public events, which is great news for the group that has been monitoring her since she hatched.

“We are happy to hear she’s alive and safe, and it’s great that’s she’s still local,” said Jennifer Kuroda, president of the Sinnissippi Audubon Society. “And it’s great that Hoo Haven is able to take care of her.”

Herdklotz said it may be awhile before the young falcon is ready to be handled and is comfortable around crowds. She said staff will take as much time as the bird needs.

“The animal(s) here always come first,” she said.

Hope was one of three falcons that hatched downtown last year. One of her siblings, a female named Jane, was found dead at the Chicago Rockford International Airport. Their brother, Simon, has not been seen since he left the nest.

Shortly after she fledged last spring, Hope made a crash landing on a window ledge in front of Carlyle Brewery in Rockford. A member of the Sinnissippi Audubon Society was able to return her to the nest.

Simon, Jane, and Hope were part of a clutch laid by a female named Louise. Louise and her mate, Brian, have been nesting on the former News Tower, now owned by Iconic Energy, for three years. The birds are the only known nesting pair of peregrine falcons in the Rockford area.

Once endangered, the peregrine falcon was named Rockford’s official bird in 2020.