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.


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