Releasing a rehabilitated Peregrine falcon.

Again, no cats on #caturday, but I hope you will find this an acceptable alternative.

I have the good fortune to live next to Debbie, a professional birder. A month ago, she found a young Peregrine falcon with one claw caught in a hole in a fence post. She extracted the claw, wrapped the bird in a light jacket, and drove to a local wildlife rehabilitation center while holding it on her lap and keeping her dogs from getting too curious. Yesterday, the bird was deemed ready for release. The toe that had been caught had suffered permanent damage, but the falcon could catch food and hang on to hardware cloth, so they figured it could survive on its own. Debbie and her husband Mike invited me along, knowing I would enjoy the release and take photos. We drove to a spot near where the bird was found, but well away from the troublesome fence. Here's what happened next.

In a huge grassy valley, a woman looks into a cat carrier to check on a rehabilitated Peregrine falcon.

At the west end of Lake Crowley, in the huge, grassy Long Valley, Debbie set down the cat carrier with the falcon and checked to see how it was doing.

A woman's tanned hand releases the lock on the cat carrier.

The falcon seemed fine, so Debbie released the lock and opened the door.

The young Peregrine falcon peers out of the open door of the cat carrier.

The young Peregrine falcon took a step forward and peered outside.

The falcon rests on the ground after flying a few feet from the carrier.

The falcon took one jump and flap and lit on the ground a few feet from the carrier.

After a short rest, the falcon takes flight.

After a short rest, just a few seconds, the Peregrine falcon took flight.

The falcon flies over the nearby lake starts circling upward.

It flew over the water, and then started spiraling upward.

The falcon has gained altitude, and mountain peaks fill the background.

It flew with no difficulty and wasted no time gaining altitude.

In just a few minutes after release, the falcon has reached the clouds.

Just a few minutes after release, the falcon had reached the clouds and started flying to the west until we lost track of it.

Proud parents, the woman who rescued the bird and her husband watch happily as the falcon disappears in the distance.

The proud parents.

As we packed up, I wondered what their cat, Diego the Dark Lord of Destruction, would think of the new smells on his carrier.

Postscript: one of the images shows a motor home in the background. On the way out, we discovered he was stuck and gave him a tow.