The red-shouldered hawk that was found shot in San Martin has died.
Unfortunately, the pellet that was lodged in the bird's chest was made of lead. Left alone, the bird would have likely died from lead poisoning.
Although lead toxicosis is most often associated with ingestion of lead, wildlife rehabilitators have documented lead, embedded in tissue, being absorbed into the bloodstream of an animal and causing severe illness.
While the surgery would be risky, there was no other option.
Thursday, the young red-shouldered hawk received the operation, the pellet was removed, but surgeons were unable to revive him.
It is especially sad news considering the hawk was intentionally shot by someone. The case is still under investigation by the California Department of Fish and Game and the reward for information on the person(s) responsible is currently $5,180.00.
We commend the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley and their surgeons for their heroic efforts.
Please read more about the hazards of lead at these links:
Lead Poisoning in Wild Birds
Lead Bullet Risks for Humans and Wildlife
Lead (National Wildlife Health Center Field Manual)
A Global Update On Lead Poisoning In Terrestrial Birds