State game wardens are on the hunt for whomever shot and wounded two peregrine falcons in Oakland and hope that a $1,000 reward ponied up by falcon lovers will help them catch the perpetrator soon.
Both falcons suffered broken ulnas, bones in the wing, and are now recuperating at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum's hospital in Walnut Creek.
State Fish and Game Warden Ryan McCoy said shooting falcons, which are protected under California law, is also a federal violation, under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
He's been on the lookout for the shooter since June, when two falcons -- a mother and 3-month old daughter -- suffered pellet wounds over their wings and bodies as they perched on their home: The Fruitvale Avenue drawbridge in Oakland.
The female, who has been named Hiya, happens to be the mate of Hiko, who was born atop San Jose City Hall in 2008 and has been living in Oakland ever since, according to Glenn Stewart, director of Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group at Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California Santa Cruz and the biologist who tracks all the peregrine falcons living in the Bay Area.
Hiya was found shot near the corner of Laguna Avenue and Alida Street, not too far from the private Head Royce School and Mormon Temple, on June 1, according to McCoy. Her daughter, named Marina, was found shot nearby on Tiffin Road and Whittle Avenue on June 10.
Following orthopedic surgery, the birds have been eating on their own, said Anneke Moresco, director of veterinary services at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum.
For peregrines that hunt in the air, wings that aren't in "perfect" condition can pose a serious problem, said Susan Heckly, wildlife rehabilitation director with the hospital.
"If they can't fly perfectly and the wings are damaged, that is the worst-case scenario," she said.
She has no timeline for the falcons' healing, saying that as X-rays come back showing the wings fused together, they will be moved into larger enclosures. She listed the falcons in "guarded" condition and says it's too early to be optimistic.
The Lindsay has had the birds for the last few weeks but didn't publicize it because of the ongoing investigation, said Heckly.
It is not unusual for the Lindsay to receive animals that have been shot at. In fact, it's common, unfortunately, said Heckly.
Stewart has made it his personal mission to drum up reward money and help the state wardens. He's collected pledges from falcon lovers throughout the Bay Area, including many of the San Jose "Falconatics," who spend many hours tracking the lives of the falcons that live at City Hall. That $1,000 will be awarded to the person who gives information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.
"I find it hard to believe that anyone would fire a weapon in a neighborhood, not to mention with intent to kill an animal like a peregrine falcon," Stewart said. "That it happened twice is beyond belief. Someone must have information.''
Anyone with information about who might have shot the peregrine falcons should call 1-888-DFG-CalTIP (1-888-334-2258).
Staff writer Elisabeth Nardi contributed to this report. Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-920-5002.