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Glenfield couple helps to rescue injured falcon

| Thursday, June 28, 2012, 1:50 p.m.
'Crash' looks out of the box that Mark and Cathy Weil kept him in after pulling him from the Ohio River. Submitted photo

Mark Weil was gassing up his boat at his Glenfield home early on June 9 when he spotted something drifting along the Ohio River."It looked like a duck floating, but it didn't look normal," he said.As it got closer, Mark realized it was a bird — a baby hawk, he thought —and it appeared to be in major distress."He was about lifeless. He was just trying to keep his head out of the water," he said.So Mark grabbed a spike pole, an instrument typically used to move debris in the water, to help pull the bird from the river.When he brought him ashore, Mark towel-dried him, turned him upside down to shake the water out and sat him in the sun. He wasn't sure if he'd make it.A little while later when Mark and his wife, Cathy, went back to check on the bird, it was still in the same spot, but had perked up a bit. Cathy decided to seek out a veterinarian anyway.After searching on the Internet, Cathy called Dr. Ashby Marshall at Moon Veterinary Hospital who asked the Weils to bring the bird in so he could evaluate it.Much to the objection of the bird's mother, who was squawking furiously nearby, the Weils bundled the bird they dubbed "Crash" in a blanket and put it in a cat carrier to bring to the vet."I was crying. I felt so bad taking him from his mother," Cathy said.Dr. Marshall called a few hours later to tell the couple that what Mark found was not a hawk at all, but a 5-month-old male peregrine falcon.He said he'd stop over by boat to see where the nest was.The peregrine falcon once was on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's federal threatened and endangered species list, but was removed in 1999, according to its website.After Marshall and his staff force-fed the falcon for the first couple of days, he sent "Crash" to Earl Schriver, a master falconer from Economy, to be nursed back to health at his nearby bird sanctuary.He had it for a short time before it was picked up by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which later released it back to its family.The Weils said they are grateful to Marshall, who Mark described as "seriously into birds of prey," for his devotion to seeing that the falcon was properly cared for simply out of the kindness of his heart."To be that passionate about something you won't get any money for is amazing," Mark said.

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