Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Red-tailed Hawk Rescue


Paul is the plumber at our hospital. I knew him as the person who had a Smart car in the parking lot, but recently found that he also has a keen interest in the natural world around him. On his way to work last week he noticed a young Red-tailed Hawk lying at the side of the expressway which runs through our twin cities. He thought it was dead but stopped, picked it up and continued on his way to work.

Deb* works at the reception desk but is more at home with her camera taking pictures of birds and wildlife. She is one of those people who brings her camera everywhere she goes just in case she has a great photo opportunity. The hawk was very docile and allowed Paul to handle it while Deb took these pictures. Sadly, I had already left work for the day.

The hawk was alive but sustained an injury to its right eye and had some bleeding from its beak. Apparently it was able to move both wings normally and had no other obvious external problems. Paul called the local Humane Society and they arranged to have the bird moved to Hawkeye, a regional bird control and rehabilitation facility. The plan was to return the hawk to the area where it had been found once it was well enough to be released.



On Friday Paul heard that the bird was recovering but today he came and told me that it had died from its injuries. We have many Red-tailed Hawks in our area and they are seen frequently in the city, often on light standards along busy roads. I drive the same expressway home and recognize the "golf course" hawk and the pair of "land fill" hawks who are seen in basically the same area each day. Large birds which hunt near traffic are at risk for injury from cars and trucks. This hawk must have had injuries more severe than were initially apparent.

Man made structures and machines inadvertently injure and kill many birds each year. But people like Paul, the staff at the Humane Society and Hawkeye do what they can to save unfortunate victims. Hawkeye claims that about 70% of the birds in their care survive. It is too bad that this hawk was not one of them.

*All photos taken by Deb Lehman. Please do not copy or reproduce

18 comments:

  1. It is a sad, yet beautiful story. I'm surprised the rehab with birds is as high as 70%. People do what they can. Deb's captures are excellent.

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  2. Gaelyn...I edited the way I wrote that sentence and pasted the sentence from Hawkeye's website which says that 70% of the birds in their care survive. Not all of them are rehabilitated to the point where they can be released back to the wild.

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  3. To bad the bird did not survive.Even when there are many of this species it is still sad to see a bird die prematurely.
    Blessings,Ruth

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  4. This must be raptor season in the blogs I am reading.
    A sad outcome to an otherwise fascinating story.
    I do wonder, though, if the young hawk had lived how it would have fared. With one eye damaged, I would think that might impair its ability to hunt, since hawk eyesight is so keen and so critical.

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  5. What a kind person Paul is. Not many people would have stopped to help this little guy out. Paul's heart was in the right spot, but it just wasn't meant to be. What a wonderful program that Hawkeye's have. I must venture to their website. Great pictures by Deb too. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. I'm sorry too he didn't make it. What a beautiful bird! I'm glad there are people out there willing to help when wildlife pays the price for our modern society....

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  7. What an interesting story and great pictures. I recently read Flyaway about a raptor rehabilitator and have great respect for their work. The ones that are not able to be released back into the wild sometimes end up in educational programs and contribute in that way to helping people understand and appreciate wildlife. I'm thinking that wild bird rehabilitators would be a good charity for a christmas donation. Thanks for posting this.

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  8. So sad that this beauty did not survive, but how wonderful that there are people like Paul around to lend a helping hand when needed.

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  9. Aw, I was hoping for a happier ending.

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  10. Too bad, poor bird, but I applaud their efforts!

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  11. Ruth,

    What a shame that the hawk died. I've seen large hawks alongside of the road where they had been hit and once when we were up north, came very close to hitting an owl just at dusk. I'm glad that the collision was avoided.

    Beautiful photos of the hawk though and I'm glad it let your friend get it some help, even if it was in vain.

    Wishing you a wonderful day.
    Blessings,
    Mary

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  12. Hi Ruth......such a beautiful bird and such a sad end. It always restores my faith in human nature when people try to help injured creatures.....

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  13. What a tender-hearted guy Paul is! I was sorry to hear the hawk died...I was rooting for him. Thank goodness for the Humane Society and for people like Paul.

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  14. A touching story, wonderful people out there.

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  15. Deb is a smart lady. I bring my camera when I don't need it and leave it at home when I do!

    Nice pics - glad she was able to get them. Too bad the hawk did not survive. Paul is a very kind man.

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  16. Sorry to hear the hawk didn't make it. He was a beautiful bird.

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  17. Sounds like Paul and Deb are pretty special people. I'm sorry to hear the hawk died too, but your story does emphasize the importance of the bird rehab centers and the fact that these centers are available and can always use our help (with time, $$, or both).

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  18. This is every sad. We see so many hawks around here. It breaks my heart to see one that's been hit by traffic on the side of the road. God Bless your friend who found this big guy before he died a more tragic death. I'm sorry he didn't make it.

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