$5,000 reward offered for info in Peregrine Falcon shooting

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Who would shoot a Peregrine Falcon with a shotgun? It's a question being asked by police in West Allis, Humane Society officials and animal lovers across the Milwaukee area. This, as two organizations are offering a $5,000 reward for information in the shooting.

The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a $5,000 reward for anyone coming forward with information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons responsible for the recent shooting of an endangered Peregrine Falcon in Milwaukee.

The Wisconsin Humane Society contacted HSUS to ask for their support in this case. The two organizations are not affiliated, but are both invested in creating a community that treats animals with respect and kindness.

The injured falcon was discovered in a yard outside the Cocktails & Dreams tavern at 55th & Grant in West Allis on February 27th.

A part-time employee was in the kitchen, looked out the window and saw near the shed what she thought was a hawk.

"I called for Rick Popp because he knows a lot about wild game and everything, so he more or less identified it," Lonna Schimmelpfennig said.

"I couldn't tell it was hurt because it was just sitting there all relaxed, and then when I put my arm up to it, I could tell there was something wrong with it. I touched it and it flew over here, and then I took my coat off and grabbed it," Popp said.

"Madame X" was promptly taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at WHS for care.

“Madame X” is in stable condition, but due to the severity of her injuries, her long-term prognosis is guarded.

She is suffering not only from internal injuries, but a broken coracoid bone, which could prevent her from ever flying again.

"Madame X" was hit by several shotgun pellets.

"One is actually in her head, one in one leg, one near her crop and upper chest and one or two in the abdomen," Scott Diehl, Wildlife Manager at Wisconsin Humane Society's Wildlife Rehabilitation Center said.

Bands on "Madame X's" feet indicate she was born four years ago in Iowa.

Peregrine Falcons are native to Wisconsin, but the widespread use of the pesticide DDT decimated their population by the 1960s.  A reintroduction campaign started by Peregrine Manager/Researcher and Wisconsin native Greg Septon in 1986 has made steady strides in reestablishing the Peregrine Falcon in Wisconsin.

There are currently 32 nesting sites in Wisconsin, and "Madame X" hatched her first chicks last spring at the We Energies power plant in Wauwatosa.

This was the first successful nest since the box was built at the We Energies power plant in Wauwatosa in 2007 -- an encouraging sign for an endangered species.

"They`re doing better, but the overwhelming majority of peregrines in Wisconsin today are entirely dependent on the goodwill of us," Septon told FOX6 News.

When the leadership at the We Energies Foundation heard the news about the shooting, they graciously decided to make a $2,500 donation toward the falcon’s medical care and treatment.

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at the Wisconsin Humane Society receives no government funding for its work in caring for 5,000 wild animals a year, and this compassionate support from We Energies Foundation is deeply appreciated by the staff and volunteers at WHS.

The Department of Natural Resources is actively investigating this case, and anyone with information about the incident should call the West Allis Crime Stoppers at 414-476-CASH (2274).

Callers may request confidentiality in this case, and any tips are appreciated.

As the investigation continues, wildlife experts are hopeful "Madame X" can still lead a productive life.

"There's a really good potential for her to become an educational bird," Diehl said.