The Claw

Late one evening an injured or sick Cooper’s Hawk came in. He was a little thin with poor feather condition, but no obvious injuries. The fact that  a member of the public was able to catch him easily suggested that there was something wrong with him: Cooper’s Hawks are like hawks on speed. They are flighty and fast and nervous and slick. He was found below a window, so I thought he might have hit the window, so he might be suffering from a concussion. Since it was night, I thought it best to give him anti-inflammatories and put him in a dark box for the night (a small, secure box is sometimes best, so he won’t thrash around and hurt himself).

The next morning, I had to get him out of his box to re-evaluate him and put him in a larger enclosure, and hopefully get him to eat something. This is what I was greeted with when I approached the box he was in:

I think he was giving me a message – showing me his weapons, “Look lady, I’ll mess you up if you hurt me.” Luckily, my boss has trained me well on how to remove a nervous hawk from a small box. I put him in a large cage and gave him a defrosted mourning dove to eat (a previous patient who died. Hey, it’s better to use his body for good, right?). I gave him the dove because it will be food he recognizes, since Cooper’s eat a lot of doves in the wild. It would be stressful for him to eat in captivity so I wanted him to have something he’d recognize instantly. That’s why, when certain animals die, and they haven’t been given any drugs, we freeze them for future patients. Anyway, the Cooper’s tore into this dove carcass like he hadn’t eaten in a week. He might not have. He is doing well and hopefully will be released soon.


What a Smashing Hawk…

Today I answered the phone, “Wildlife Clinic, may I help you?” as I do many times a day. A woman answered me calmly, “oh, I do hope so. A hawk has just crashed through my window into the house.”.  I wasn’t as shocked as I might have been, because it’s the second time I’ve dealt with this situation!

Since it was only a few minutes away, I went to rescue the hawk. Turns out this woman’s daughter, in her 20s, was sitting on her bed, reading a book, when a hawk crashed through the glass of her window, entering her bedroom. Imagine sitting on your bed, sleepily reading a book, when a hawk crashes through the window. She said it was incredibly loud, and can’t believe the hawk wasn’t seriously injured. He was a juvenile Red Tailed Hawk, with his juvenile tail, so at least under 2 years old (when they earn their red tail). However, just because he is a juvenile, doesn’t mean he isn’t huge – they achieve their full size before they achieve their adult plumage. Clearly he was flying like a lunatic, chasing a bird for his dinner. Here’s a pic of the window. Note the top part, which is all shattered and shards all around the frame:

The bottom half of the window was unaffected, and the hawk was ‘trapped’ between the bottom pane of glass and the window shade. I grabbed him by the legs, gave him a quick exam, and placed him in a dark box – and took him back to the clinic. Turns out he has no observable injuries, except for biting his tongue.  His body condition was good – not underweight or sick.He certainly has some head trauma, which we treated with anti-inflammatories and some dark and quiet time.  Here’s the lunatic flyer here, once I put her in a cage, where she was NOT happy:

And here’s the pile of glass he left in this young woman’s bedroom:

It seems likely that this hawk will be released soon, unless she has sustained some internal damage. Hopefully she’ll look where she’s going in the future. And the young lady is consulting a Native American friend who suggests that a hawk ‘entering your life’ has some sort of meaning. He certainly ‘entered her life’ dramatically.

Update! The hawk was released back behind the house where she came from . There is a huge, vast field and really tall thick trees surrounding it. Perfect. She flew off beautifully. No injuries or lasting damage.