A missing peregrine falcon has been photographed in coastal New Hampshire towns. The bird's trainer said she was born in captivity and may struggle to survive in the wild. Credit: Submitted | Portsmouth Herald

PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire — David Augusta’s peregrine falcon has been missing since Feb. 15 and he’s hoping the next time someone sees her, they’ll report the sighting so he can respond to bring her home.

A falconer who keeps and trains birds of prey, at his Sandown home, Augusta said his unnamed falcon has been seen in locations around the area. She’s identifiable because she has a tether, known as a jess, attached to her leg.

Augusta said the falcon was hatched in June and imprinted on humans, so she’s an inexperienced hunter. He said he’s kept her as close to nature as possible and she did not have a tracking device.

“She’s a captive-bred bird, raised here since she was a chick,” he said.

The falcon is a flat-footed cliff dweller, so she won’t be in a tree or the woods, but could be on rooftops, phone poles and bridges. It’s also possible she may be seen near bird feeders, Augusta said.

The falcon has been spotted and photographed, still with its tether, in North Hampton, Exeter, Seabrook and Hampton, but no one called in a timely manner to report her, Augusta said. He explained that it’s possible the falcon would go toward areas with pigeons, which they hunt and eat, and they can fly long distances in short times.

“If you see the bird flying around with the tether,” he urged, “put the camera down and call someone.”

Augusta said he’s worried the falcon may not survive in the wild, because of its youth and inexperience. He said if some of the people who have posted photos of her online during the past two weeks had immediately contacted him, he would have been there in 20 minutes and the falcon would go to him.

He said the bird will not fly away when approached by people and she is very vocal with “hunger screams,” meaning she’s hungry.

“She’ll scream, she’ll talk to you,” he said. “She’s saying, ‘Why don’t you feed me?’”

Anyone who sees the falcon is urged to report it by calling (978) 360-9370.

Sightings can also be reported to the New Hampshire Fish and Game dispatch office at (603) 271-3361.

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