Storm strands famous Canadian falcon in Texas
HUTCHINS, Texas -- The peregrine falcon is one serious predator.
"When they get into a stoop to catch prey, they can go up to 250 miles an hour," said Kathy Rogers, the founder of the Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. The non-profit helps rehabilitate injured animals.
"This is Beatrix, and she is ready to head home," Rogers said, holding a large, injured bird.
Beatrix, a peregrine falcon, shares a similar story to the hundreds of birds at the Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation. She was found wounded, picked up by a Good Samaritan, and dropped off at the center.
"She couldn't see. She was very sedate," Rogers said. "There was obviously a brain issue."
Rogers says the bird likely took a pounding from that hail storm a couple of weeks ago -- the same one that killed a handful of birds at the Fort Worth Zoo.
During Beatrix's rehab, Rogers and her staff realized this birds' story was very different. As it turns out, she was actually kind of a celebrity, with fans waiting for her to come home to Canada.
Thanks to a Facebook post that went viral and a special marking on her body, the bird was tied to the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, about 1,300 miles away.
"We're very glad that she's still alive, and we're really glad that the folks at the Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center have been taking such good care of her," said Tracy Maconachie, the project coordinator for the Canadian non-profit. "We're very optimistic about her future."
It turns out the peregrine falcon is an endangered species in Canada. Beatrix is part of the third generation of falcons' reintroduction to the wild back in 1971.
Her name was the outcome of a public contest, and Beatrix's birth in 2011 was watched by thousands via webcam.
"They're ecstatic because, usually, when [Falcon Recovery Project researchers] find a bird with a [tracking] band, it is either dead or going to be euthanized,"Rogers said. "They hardly ever [find birds] that are OK and going to be back in the wild. So they are very excited about this."
The question now is, how will Beatrix get home to her family in Winnipeg?