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Grizabella Makes the Catch: Story of Resurrection in the Wild

December 22, 1990|RICH ROBERTS

A peregrine falcon named Grizabella has made a new home and is raising a family high on the Coronado Bridge in San Diego--one of the success stories in the program to restore the endangered species in the wild.

Dan Brimm of La Jolla, a falconer and former member of the board of directors of the Peregrine Fund, was involved in releasing peregrines at Point Loma. One bird, raised in captivity by the Predatory Bird Group at UC Santa Cruz, was released in 1986 but subsequently was injured flying into a wire and was attacked by sea gulls.

"About that time we'd been to see 'Cats,' so we named her Grizabella and resurrected her," Brimm said.

However, attempts to train Grizabella to be self-sufficient failed.

"She never could catch a pigeon," Brimm said. "The other birds all went their merry ways, but she stuck around. We kept on feeding her for a number of months. She'd recognize us and come whistling in from over the ocean."

Brimm started tossing quail to Grizabella, and she finally caught on.

"She'd never miss," he said.

Then they encouraged her to hunt by not feeding her for as long as three days at a time, and eventually she disappeared--until this year when Brimm heard about birds on the bridge. He went out there, tossed a quail and one caught it--Grizabella, now a mother.

"One of very few successful nestings in California," Brimm said. "We fledged four birds out of there, and they're all doing well."

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