Showing posts with label hawks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hawks. Show all posts

March 13, 2022

Where in the Riparian is the Redtail?

Another patient in the Raptor Center "ICU."

The injured red-tailed hawk, the game warden said, was somewhere in the riparian cottonwood grove near where the power line crosses the little gravel road to the fishing pond.

What color is a red-tailed hawk sitting on the ground? Streaky brown and creamy white. What color(s) is the landscape? Shades of tan and brown.

He couldn't help because he was two counties away at some other activity. Luckily, he did have the phone number of the man who found the hawk,  and luckily that man answered and agreed to meet me at the site. 

The finder led me to a spot near the bird, which was impersonating a small stump in the tall grass beside the winter-clear water of the Arkansas River.

I laid my cotton flannel capture net on it, and it rolled into claws-up defensive position, which actually makes a hawk easy to pick up if you have your heavy gloves on. It footed me, but not very strongly. 

Into the bright blue carrier it went — I like this model because you can lift the top and set birds into it, instead of having to stuff them into a smaller end opening. 

Off to the Raptor Center we drove, where the hawk was pronounced dangerously underweight. 

"He's been on the ground [not hunting] a few days," the director said. Hydration, rest, and food come next. 

The hawk probably collided with the aformentioned power line, maybe burning a wing tip and injuring a foot. Human infrastructure strikes again.

March 03, 2021

When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It

The director of the Raptor Center called with  a phone number of a man who had an injured juvenal red-tailed hawk at his house "in Florence." But when I called him to get the address, it was some distance out of town, out in the coal fields. 

I did not even know there were private homes in that area; I thought it was a re-claimed open pit mine. I said that I would give him another  call as soon as finished some in-town business and was on the road.

A young woman answered the same cell phone. "Ricky" was outside some place, but yeah, just come up the county road and turn at "that yellow sign at the fork in the road." 

It was the third? fourth? driveway — anyway, if you come to the blue dumpster, you missed it

The overall domestic vibe was heavy on old tires and pitbulls, but the dogs were friendly and so were the people once we made contact. The fiftyish man and the young woman with a cigarette tucked behind her ear had been at a local wetlands "natural area" the day before and found the hawk, weak and unable to fly. They had picked it up. 

"I stopped at the bait shop and bought some worms," he said proudly. "And we gave it some water with a dropper. It's been eating pretty good today." 

Worms — not what I would have thought of, but still better than the woman who fed a great horned owl with oatmeal because she "read it on the internet.  Water was a good idea. (More below)

Something is wrong with those feet.
 
Here was a juvenal red-tail then, sitting on a puffy quilt in a metal dog crate with black shade-cloth clothespinned to the top. Thoughtful!  Not having come from home, where all my own travel crates are stashed, I just loaded Ricky's crate into the Jeep and took off.
 
At the Raptor Center, the director uncrated the bird. Wings good. A bit dehydrated. No obvious burns as from flying into a power line. Los of big burrs on its underside — from when it was grounded? She snipped them out, washing and gently massaging. One foot still seemed limp.
 
Further examination was to come once it was rested and rehydrated. I left for home. I know by now that more than half of the birds that come in are past helping, but I will check back in a couple of days so that I will have news for Ricky when I bring his crate back. 

Update, March 4: The hawk is being treated for botulism, which can cause "flaccid paralysis beginning with feet and legs.”  Waterfowl carry botulism, and the hawk was found in a wetland area, which might mean something — maybe it killed or scavenged an infected duck?