Jemison’s Triumphant Return

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Updated with video clips – see below!
After six weeks of rehabilitation, we received word late last week that Jemison was hunting & killing her own food and flying competently in a 180-foot (55 meter) flight cage. Since she was doing so well, the rehabber and DEC biologists determined that she was ready for release.

So at lunchtime today, members of the Genesee Valley Audubon Society and the Rochester Falconcam met the DEC’s Mike Allen at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, about 45 miles (72 km) east of Rochester. Alert readers may recall that Montezuma was the site of Mariah’s release following her stint in rehab last year.

After picking up refuge Manager Bill Stewart, the group took a short trip along Montezuma’s wildlife drive and found a convenient spot away from highway traffic. Mike and Bill placed Jemison’s wooden carrier on the gravel and the Audubon Society’s June Summers released the lid. Jemison took off right away, flying close by Falconcam member Jim Pisello before climbing high over the wetland.

Jim provided some pictures of the event. You can view them by clicking the picture at the left. Falconcam members Kathy Olney and Carol Phillips took pictures and videos too. Here are a couple of video clips courtesy of Carol Phillips:


Jemison is released from the carrier


Jemison flying

As Carol noted, this was the best outcome we could hope for. Everyone at the release agreed that Jemison was flying well, with no trace of an injury. She gained altitude before soaring away to the north and west. Will she return to Rochester, or strike out for some new destination? We can only wonder where her travels will take her. Wherever it is, we know the good wishes of her many fans will go with her.

It truly is a group effort to make sure that these young peregrines have the best opportunity to lead successful lives. The Rochester Falconcam is grateful for the dedication of Mike Allen, Jenny Landry, Barb Loucks and everyone at the DEC & the rehab staff who took care of Jemison and returned her to flight status. Special thanks also to Dr. Balonek and all the folks at the East Ridge Animal Hospital; Dr. Parsons, Gary and the staff at the Black Creek Wildlife Center as well as the Rochester Animal Control; and Bill Stewart and everyone at the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. And of course, we want to acknowledge the many volunteers who keep an eye on Jemison and all the Rochester falcons year after year. Your efforts are all appreciated!

20 Responses to “Jemison’s Triumphant Return”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Wonderful news – and fantastic photo’s. Thank you to everyone for their hard work in rehabbing Jemison, and especially for the Rochester Falcon watchers – you are truly guardian angels! Fly high and strong Jemison!

  2. kathy says:

    Wonderful news! I hope she finds Callidora and they fly off together exploring the world!

  3. Paul says:

    What great news to get upon returning from vacation! That’s amazing that there is a flight cage so big that Jemison was able to learn to hunt in it. I’m trying to imagine a 180 foot flight cage — that must be longer than the big flight enclosure at the National Zoo.

  4. Joyce says:

    I’m tickled pink to see Jemison flying healthy again. I saw the last release, and my heart broke as I watched him come down. I know Jemison was tagged a female, but even in these photos, she looks like a “he” to me. Another racing stripe – maybe heading west to Rochester? Well you know all the watchers will have their eyes to the skies. I’m so happy he is on the wing. Perfect timing to be with other juvenile falcons on the move. Cheers to Jemison!

  5. Kris G. says:

    Wonderful news and great pictures!

  6. Pirkko says:

    Wonderful and heartwarming news! Thank you so much, everyone who contributed to Jemison’s recovery! What a joy it must have been to witness her take off in a big hurry, climb high on strong wings and disappear over the horizon! She is probably in Rochester by now, soaring with Callidora and enjoying her freedom. Good luck, Jemison!

  7. MAK says:

    That was wonderful! Thanks for the pics and videos. Like I haven’t shed enough tears over him already. Someone please tell me how to not get attached. Can’t do it.
    Come home and say hi Jemison!!! I’ll be waiting and watching. :)

  8. Alison says:

    Good news. Thank-you for posting:-)

  9. DEBBIE says:

    That is wonderful news, and I can’t help but shed a tear of happiness that Jemison is well and in the skys again. We love you Jemison

  10. chicki says:

    ahhh, to have the freedom of a falcon….priceless!!

  11. Maki says:

    What a great news!!! Thank you for the great pictures and videos!!

    Watching from NJ!

  12. Sarah in Florida says:

    Fantastic news and videos! Thank you to all who made it possible! She flies like a pro!!

  13. Kat nagel says:

    Wonderful news!
    Thanks!

  14. Carla P says:

    The last time I saw Jemison – and Archer, Beauty, Callidora and all of the Watchers – was at his second rescue on July 2nd. I haven’t been able to participate (in person) since that evening, but watching the video of his release and seeing all of the awesome pictures has certainly helped in filling the void I have felt since that fateful day.
    FLY HIGH AND FREE, BEAUTIFUL JEMISON, and may you carry on the legacy of Mariah and Kaver for many years to come.

    Carla P

  15. Maureen in MA says:

    Woo hoo!! :D Such awesome news to get upon returning from a weekend away. Thank you to all of those mentioned in this post, and to Jim, Carol, and Kathy for sharing this exciting event with us in photos and videos!!

  16. chrissy says:

    Good news indeed. Exactly what day was Jemison released? There is a report (Genessee Birding) of a falcon sighted at Eastview Mall near the Eddie Bauer entrance at 4PM on Aug 21.

  17. ei says:

    @Chrissy-Jemison was released early afternoon on August 23.

  18. June Kogut says:

    From Carla’s lips: Fly high and free, beautiful Jemison !!!!

  19. kinderkids says:

    Beautiful and strong! Great news!

  20. Kathie says:

    What a wonderful ending to an amazing summer! To be able to watch them from hatching to flying free!