On a chilly January day, local birder Cathy Spencer stopped by our office with news of an injured red-tailed hawk just up the highway. We frequently get calls for help from concerned citizens about injured animals. For many years we were able to connect them to local wildlife rehabilitators William and Joyce Roberts. With William's death this past summer, dedicated rehabilitator Darin Handy stepped forward to carry the torch. After consulting Darin, we grabbed a blanket and BRDC storage tub and headed out to find the bird.
The young red-tailed hawk was standing in the same spot Cathy had seen it, just a foot from the shoulder in a sharp bend in the highway with trucks barreling past. We crossed the road and covered the bird with the blanket and placed it in the storage tub. The only apparent injury was a crushed beak and some blood in its mouth, but it clearly could not fly. As we returned to the truck, a second red-tail called from above and swooped in to perch on a tree. We paused, and acknowledged our hopes of a full recovery for this bird and a return to the location it was found.
I drove the bird west to meet Darin that afternoon. After a full inspection and the bird surviving through the night, Darin decided it was best if he could get it to the Carolina Raptor Center for further rehabilitation. Our program coordinator, Lisa Benish, picked up the red-tailed hawk along with an eastern screech owl and transported them to the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville, NC.
Although the screech owl did not survive, the hawk has undergone multiple treatments, including getting a new epoxy beak and is now eating food with vigor! Hopefully, the bird will get a clean bill of health soon and can be released back into the wild. If you are interested, as I'm sure Cathy is, you can track the recovery progress online at: medreport
It takes a team to take care of our wildlife. Please consider supporting the Carolina Raptor Center as a vital resource for regional wildlife rehabilitation: donate