Aug 14, 2012

Hawked snagged by crook

Today, Duane and I just so happened to be in San Jose at a meeting, discussing ways we might officially expand our specialized wildlife rescue services in the area, when we received an emergency page.

The caller, Peter, was reporting a hawk, caught in a tree, about 30' high. As luck would have it, we were only eight miles away!

On scene we found a very tired but alert red-shouldered hawk, stuck on a branch. We couldn't tell exactly what held him to the limb - often it's kite string or fishing line.

There was no way to reach the bird without special equipment. Thankfully, there was an tool rental place just up the road, and, we happened to be driving our newly donated heavy-duty rig that could easily tow the boom lift.

Within 20 minutes we were all set and Duane began the ascent. Check out the video below.

Oddly enough, the hawk's leg was simply caught in a crook, nothing else held it to the tree - no line or string. Duane freed the bird by breaking the branch.

We rushed the bird to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley where it received immediate attention.

The bird was thin, indicating it had been trapped for two or three days. The leg did not appear broken, but the skin where it was caught had torn and peeled back. This is called a  degloving injury.

Photo courtesy WCSV.
The center's wildlife medics cleaned and bandaged the wound and placed the bird on pain medication and antibiotics. We will post updates as we receive them from the hospital. Please consider donating to our friends at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley, HERE.

~ Rebecca


Today's rescue clearly illustrates the value of having a dedicated team of experienced first responders who specialize in wildlife. The skills necessary to safely handle wild animals in distress differ greatly than those used in domestic animal rescue.

As this season draws to an end, we will be looking at ways to increase our coverage of the Bay Area in 2013. If you'd like to receive training to volunteer on our Wildlife Search and Rescue team, please start by sending in an application and waiver.

UPDATE 8-18-12: Today we received word that the hawk is still alive and improving. At first, there was some concern because it wasn't defecating, but now that the bird is well hydrated, everything's flowing smoothly, so to speak. The hawk is able to perch and grip, but is not using its hallux well - that's the rear facing toe. We were also told that his behavior has improved, so much so that, to everyone's surprise, he lunged for his dinner-mouse before it was served.

Stay tuned!