Farewell to an Old Friend

This bird was deeply important to me. I have dear friends now that I wouldn’t have met without her, and a range of singular experiences and memories that only months spent with a wild bird can offer. She had a good six years and I’m glad she lived her last days in a beautiful California valley and likely died of natural not human causes. Fly on Patch… fly on.

Find out more about her here: KITUNDU.COM/PATCH

22 responses

  1. Siobhan Ruck

    She couldn’t leave without letting you know she’d gone.

    Thanks, Patch.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm

  2. Kendra

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Among other things, I’m grateful to her for her role in bringing you to GGRO.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm

  3. ric_h@mymts.net

    Sorry to hear about Patch. I understand the feeling of knowing a wild bird. We’ll never fly like them, but we do understand, and cherish, the trust that they give us.

    I work daily with wild birds. Sometimes, they land in my hand and look at me with trust in their eyes. You have to earn that, it cannot be bought.

    I admit to feeling angst when the hawks fly in to a gathering of other birds. But, it is their lives at stake, not mine. I understand the lives of many of our little friends. I’ve spent years learning and gaining their trust. This is something very important to me.

    Consider that you have been allowed to see so closely into another’s life. Very few even understand what that means. I’m not religious, but I have been so blessed.

    I watched, today, as a Red-Tail heckled a troupe of Blue Jays and Magpies. Strangely, they all seemed to get along, albeit with well defined limits. I only wish that people could do the same. Too bad that we’re apparently not learning from Nature.

    I feel your grief. I have now toasted to Patch. I appreciate your sentiment. I truly believe that our little friends feel the same.

    One who appreciates your shots, and interactions with our friends,

    Ric Hornsby Canada

    October 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm

  4. Walter, I’m so sorry. How did you find out?

    October 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    • A band recovery in the latest Pac Raptor Report. I’m sure she led a good life and I’m amazed that I got to find out what happened. So often the birds go unreported so finding out is a minor miracle.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm

      • Wendy Haas


        First, I want to thank you for sharing your experiences with Patch. She was beautiful and photogenic! also to give you my heartfelt condolences. I have been a part of a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organization, where I had the priveledge to rescue and triage wounded birds. My fondness for birds of prey is my fascination with their wildness and perfection. I have rescued fledgling Peregrines-two that have been named for me. The first Wendy-bird lost her young life flying in the Indiana Dunes area and encountering some razor wire that caused her catastrophic injuries. She had to be put down. I cried like a baby when I found out…but am forever in love with these amazing souls.

        Wendy Haas, Chicago

        November 2, 2012 at 11:05 pm

  5. Bill

    You have been left with a gift many people would not understand.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm

  6. That’s a great way to describe it.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm

  7. rip, patch. thank you for gracing SF with your presence (and walter for capturing it).

    October 29, 2012 at 1:00 am

  8. Sorry to hear. You’ve taken some beautiful photos. Thanks.

    October 29, 2012 at 5:43 am

  9. nanjim1959

    Soo sad to me!!!! thanks for sharing…love to ‘Patch’. xxx

    Sent from my iPhone

    October 29, 2012 at 7:22 am

  10. Wow awesome what kind camera with u

    October 29, 2012 at 7:54 am

  11. Steve Rock

    She enriched your life (and ours) so much. Thank you for telling the world about Patch. I offer my condolences.

    October 29, 2012 at 10:56 am

  12. LoveYourDNA/julie


    I’m so happy you were able to find out – as sad as that is. May your spirits soar together in memory!

    October 29, 2012 at 11:14 am

  13. Your photos are a remarkable tribute to one amazing bird. You have captured some images I’ve never seen before, and now I will always remember Patch, too.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:33 am

  14. Walter,
    a thanks to you, and to Patch, for sharing your lives with us. My introduction to Patch was through a presentation you gave a few years ago at the GGRO — what a gift the two of you have given to so many.
    May Patch inspire all of us to pay attention to all that is going on around us in the natural world, avian and otherwise.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:42 am

  15. LoveYourDNA/julie

    I just went through your series on Patch, and it’s simply marvelous! You’re a rare breed yourself, Walter!!

    October 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm

  16. Very sorry to hear this, Walter. 😦 What was it that led the finder or officials to conclude it was likely natural causes, do you know?

    October 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    • I surmised it from the location… near a creek, under some leaves. Certainly harm came to her but it is unlikely that it was caused by people. Perhaps an injury sustained during nest defense or GHOW predation, illness, or something similar. Only the banded leg was found.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      • Oh, how sad. I’m not sure how I would recover from the loss. Your association with her was profound ,and I know from having sustained interactions with other wild animals, the void never really goes away. Each one changes us and shifts us toward new paradigms … well, those of us who are open to their guidance, that is.

        December 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm

  17. Pingback: Patch is Gone

  18. So sorry to hear that Patch is gone. A truly beautiful bird – amazing “freckles”. Patch has been my Screen saver for years. Walter, thanks for the amazing and uplifting pics.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:09 am

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