Gordon Court, a Provincial Wildlife Status Biologist in Alberta, went to pick the bird up after a farmer noticed it walking in his field. When he arrived, the bird had an open wound and couldn’t fly because of a damaged shoulder—possibly from an earlier fight. “She’d been on the ground a long time and hadn’t eaten,” he told me. “I didn’t think she’d survive the first night.”
But the bird did, and Court eventually brought it to Schwartze. Wildlife rehabilitation centres usually end up caring for injured birds, but most centres understandably lack the time and expertise to use a drone to retrain them. Schwartze has the skill set—he uses a standard drone with four whirling blades to train his own birds, a peregrine falcon and a goshawk, and he successfully rehabilitated an injured peregrine last year. Schwartze put the gyrfalcon on a gruelling four-month exercise program.