Missing falcon that prompted Westborough man’s rescue found

A missing falcon has been found in Westborough days after firefighters rescued her owner after he became trapped in the mud and brush for more than two hours.

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — A missing falcon has been found in Westborough days after firefighters rescued her owner after he became trapped in the mud and brush for more than two hours.

The Westborough Fire Department says firefighter Mark Boyer, who assisted in the rescue on Thursday, volunteered his time off-duty to help find the falcon using GPS. It appears the falcon had been attacked and has some injuries.

“I’m just glad I could reunite the two of them," Boyer said. "Hopefully their journey together continues.”

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Owner Bill Johnston said he was duck hunting with his falcon, Fiona, when he lost track of her on Thursday. Johnston looked for her in a swamp and ended up getting stuck.

His phone was at 1% battery when he called 911 for help. Firefighters were eventually able to pull him to safety.

“On his day off - he’s got a newborn little daughter - came out and went out in his waders and rescued [the falcon]," Johnston said of Boyer. "How can you thank people that do that? First, they saved my life and then they saved her life.”

Fiona disappeared after diving to try and kill a duck.

“It was a needle in a haystack type of thing,” Boyer said of his search for the falcon.

“I was armpit deep in swamp water, so I was eye-to-eye with the bird at the time. I was like, this is going to one of two ways: this is going to be a nice reunion or she’s going to get the better half of me.”

The falcon was returned home Saturday and is expected to get checked up on Monday at Tufts Veterinary Medical Center after being attacked by a hawk.

"If it was a red tail hawk, the talons would have pierced [...] where her ear is, possibly right where her eye is,” Johnston said, adding that Fiona being found alive was more than he could ask for.

“I can’t find words that adequately describe how grateful I am to all the people, but particularly the Westborough Fire Department.”