While staying at Hog Ranch a couple of weeks ago, we got a phone call saying that a small falcon had been electrocuted and fallen into someone’s garden on the outskirts of Nairobi. Susanne Goss took it on as she is familiar with caring for raptors, then it went to Zoe Gibbs another ‘carer’ of waifs and strays. It was identified as a Lanner Falcon, which seemed odd to me as it had fallen from a tree nest in the middle of a suburb. Zoe bought it over last week and it was a tiny male with a badly broken left tibia. He had only just left the nest, with all of his flight feathers in the blood. The right leg looked deformed, possibly as a result of keeping its weight on the “good leg.” Zoe took him back to Nairobi to get him X-ray’d the next day. The fracture was in two places but both joints looked fine and there is a good chance of complete recovery of the use of that leg. Stima needs a lot of care as he cannot stand and struggles to keep upright. He must be fed each mouthful and he can make quite a mess! Stima had to be handed over to the Cullen’s who live on the ranch and then Laila and I ended up looking after him for a few days.
Stima means electricity, but it is unlikely that this damage was entirely due to hitting an electric fence or by being electrocuted. More likely, he had the fracture in the nest or after he fell to the ground incapable of flight. Like all of his kind he is very intelligent and cute. Lanners look around them and understand who is who and quickly settle down. As a result, Lanners, like a few other falcons, are one of the easiest to get through trauma or illness.
Stima was placed in a sling to get weight off his legs. He looks a bit pathetic but it is a much better solution than lying on broken legs. He was introduced to Tim, the now adult male Lanner. Tim flew in after a night out to find Stima sitting in the early morning sun in his sling. Stima, stunned at the appearance of what he assumes is his father, let out a yell for joy, and kept it up while I placed Tim within arms length. Tim was a bit embarrassed, especially so when Stima lent forward to steal his food. Tim knew the signals, but couldn’t work out the next step required for his unexpected sudden fatherhood, and flew off. He spent the morning ignoring Stima. But now and again he’d fly by to have a look, and little Stima would start yelling again.
As sad as this may sound, Stima is overjoyed and improving fast. He has other problems no doubt. He may have a chest infection as he has a low hum each time he exhales. He kept it up most of the night as he sat in his box next to my head.
He will go into surgery this Tuesday at Dr. Barry Cockar’s clinic. We hope to pin the leg and straighten it out. He will need a lot of intensive care, and Laila and I cannot keep remaining behind our expedition schedule due to new arrivals or accidents. I can now walk a little, and was even allowed to drive the car yesterday.
Stima will stay with the Cullen’s until Zoe gets back in about 10 days. I know they will take good care of him. Meanwhile, we have a busy schedule ahead.