Hawks Aloft Inc.
PO Box 10028
Albuquerque, NM 87184
Phone: 505 828-9455
Fax: 505 828-9769
E-Mail: gail@hawksaloft.org

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Hawks Aloft Blog

Blog Topic: Rescues

Walk Softly: Free at Last!

Once in a while a really nice thing happens and I was fortunate to share in one particular instance’s successful conclusion. In mid-December in Ontario, Canada, Scugog Councillor Betty Somerville and her husband Len were driving on Simcoe Street north of Port Perry and noticed a large bird, obviously in distress, on the side of the road. As they watched, the bird flopped around in the ditch, clearly injured, so Len cautiously approached the bird and placed a coat over it to calm it. Wild birds can be very stressed when injured, so it is critical to first decide if you can catch it without causing further harm or if you should seek help from a professional first. Due to the location of the bird near a busy highway, as well as the remoteness of the location, Len and Betty decided to try the rescue. They knew they needed to act fast as the injuries appeared severe, so they drove to the Scugog Animal Hospital, where Erin Forget, a registered veterinary technician, examined the bird. Clear signs of trauma were noted and the bird appeared weak, spastic, and had trouble holding its head and wings in place. After some preliminary x-rays, it was confirmed that the bones were undamaged–lucky! Soft tissue damage and trauma could be dealt with, but not at the vet clinic.

So, the bird was carefully bundled up and sent off to Pefferlaw, where Gail Lenters of Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, a privately run wildlife rehabilitation center, and Dr. Sherry Cox of the National Wildlife Centre in Caledon East, took over the care. Their examination and x-rays likewise confirmed that the bird didn’t have any broken bones but was traumatized, had suffered severe bruising and exhibited some neurological signs of head trauma, but no permanent harm was expected. Slight bleeding in the eye and an inability to perch added to the treatment considerations. The hawk was very thin, which is often noted in young birds which haven’t learned how to hunt effectively. Administering fluids, anti-inflammatories, food (cut up into bite-size morsels), TLC, and patience showed rewards, and in a few days the bird was eating well and starting the long road to recovery. Time and care would heal the bird for its eventual release.

The young Red-tailed Hawk in flight after being released. Photo by Geoff Carpentier

The young Red-tailed Hawk in flight after being released. Photo by Geoff Carpentier

Once Gail was satisfied that the damage had been repaired, the swelling had subsided, balance re-established, and the bird was gaining weight, rehabilitation began in a small outdoor cage where the hawk would learn to use its wings again and regain strength. From here it was transferred to Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre in Napanee, where Sue Meech took over the rehab. A large flight pen allowed the hawk time and space to hunt and gain full wing strength. After about two weeks, back he went to Pefferlaw for the final stages of treatment and then back to Betty and Len. Wow–what a journey!

The rehabbed Red-tailed awaits release in Ontario, Canada. Photo by Geoff Carpentier.

The rehabbed Red-tailed awaits release in Ontario, Canada. Photo by Geoff Carpentier.

On February 20th, I was invited by Betty and her husband to share in the release of the bird—now confirmed to be an immature male Red-tailed Hawk—at their Scugog farm, near where the bird had been found in December. Resting on the bed of their pick-up, the hawk cowered in the transport cage for a few moments as we patiently waited for it to realize that freedom was at hand. Soon it took the cue and flew out of the cage, circled over our heads, panicked some pigeons on the barn and then tried to land in the wild for the first time in almost two months. But the landing was flop. Heading straight for the barn, it tried to land on the roof, but it was a metal roof and it was slippery! Instead of perching safely and then leisurely taking time to get its bearings, panic set in as the hawk slid down the slick surface, as if on a toboggan. Realizing the peril, we watched in anxious anticipation but the hawk took care of his own fate and lifted off, circled again and this time landed in a tree. As it preened, it searched the area for landmarks it knew. In the distance, another Red-tailed Hawk flew past, not seeing our little guy, but he saw it! Maybe, if it is a female, he will have a family of his own this year. I suspect the first lesson he will teach his young is to avoid those big shiny cars that can hurt you. Perhaps the second will be: Don’t land on metal roofs! Thank you so much to Betty, Len, Erin, Sue, Sherry, and Gail for caring so much about our wild things! All these organizations rely on donations and public funding to support the great work they do. Please consider supporting them when deciding on your gift-giving choices.

A bad place to perch. Photo by Geoff Carpentier.

A bad place to perch. Photo by Geoff Carpentier.

As a side note, please remember that your good intentions may not always be the best option. If you find a wild bird or mammal don’t always presume it needs your help. A baby bird fallen from the nest may be just fine if left alone. Injured animals on the other hand need help, and often the best action you can take is to call someone like Gail, Sherry, Sue, or Erin to seek advice and then decide what to do. If harm is imminent then you should act as Len and Betty did, but always be cautious in your zeal. Never ever try to keep wild animals as pets. It is illegal without special permits and never advantageous to the animal. Their place is in the wild. Whatever you do, if you find an animal in distress, thank you so much for even caring enough to try to help.

Red-tailed Hawk - rehab. bird released in Scugog Twp. 2017-02-20 4-09-27 PM 2692x2767

At home again in the wild. Photo by Geoff Carpentier.

For more information or if you need help with a wild animal:

Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge – www.shadesofhope.ca

National Wildlife Centre – www.nationalwildlifecentre.ca

Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre – www.sandypineswildlife.org

On another quick note, thanks to one of my readers I was alerted of a Great Gray Owl here in Durham–finally! Please keep me posted on other owl sightings!


Geoff Carpentier is a published author, ecotour guide and environmental consultant. Visit Geoff online at www.avocetnatureservices.com and on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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Call for Volunteers!

As we work toward expanding our raptor rescue program to areas in southern New Mexico, in communities like Las Cruces, the need for volunteers to help ensure the wellbeing of raptors of all shapes and sizes is becoming more and more apparent. Raptor rescue coordinators and mitigations experts Emiliano Salazar and Lisa Morgan have already conducted trainings in the Las Cruces area and have equipped a team of local bird-lovers with all the knowledge they need to assess, rescue and transport injured birds in desperate need of attention.

However, Las Cruces is a long drive down I-25 from Albuquerque. Currently, the greatest need that we have in this arena is for transport of these birds from relay points in Socorro and Truth or Consequences to Albuquerque and the expert care of our rehabilitators. If you reside in or around these flashpoint cities, we could use your help!

As a volunteer, you’ll receive recognition in our online newsletter, which is delivered to thousands of bird enthusiasts around the country each and every month. You’ll also receive basic training and the satisfaction that comes with knowing you’ve done some essential work to give an animal the best possible chance at a healthy life.

To get involved as part of our raptor rescue team, contact Raptor Rescue Coordinator Emiliano Salazar at emiliano@hawksaloft.org for details, training dates and more information on how you can help wild birds of prey across New Mexico.

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A Young Red-tailed Hawk’s Saving Grace

For two years, long-time Hawks Aloft friend and volunteer Larry Rimer monitored a Red-tailed Hawk nest site on the western edge of Rio Rancho, butting up to the escarpment near a network of large, high voltage power lines. When the nest revealed just two nestlings this year—as opposed to three the previous year—Larry paid closer attention to the site, visiting it at least weekly to “marvel at their beauty and study their behaviors,” as he put it.

On one recent auspicious Friday morning, Larry decided to check on the nest for the last time before heading out on a week-long research trip. The chicks “were close to fledging and [I] was hoping to see them fly,” he explained. Yet, when he arrived, only one of the chicks was in the nest. He lingered, observing the remaining nestling, realizing that it was not yet ready to fly, and worrying over what had happened to the missing chick. Maybe it had been predated by a Great Horned Owl?  Larry kept his vigil for more than two hours before deciding to head home. “Just then [I] noticed out of the corner of my eye something fluttering down at the base of one of the huge poles,” he explained. There, mired in the tar applied to the wooden electrical poles to keep them from rotting, was the other young Red-tailed Hawk, his feet and chest stuck in the now hardened tar. The previous day there had been a storm, and Larry’s best guess is that the gusts had knocked the bird from his nest and into harm’s way. “I couldn’t believe my luck in being in the right place, looking in the right direction, at the right time to find him,” Larry said.

The young Red-tailed Hawk stuck in tar. Photo by Larry Rimer.

The young Red-tailed Hawk stuck in tar. Photo by Larry Rimer.

 

The hawk's feet, covered in tar, before cleaning. Photo by Kariana Jones.

The hawk’s feet, covered in tar, before cleaning. Photo by Kariana Jones.

Larry called Hawks Aloft where he was advised to take the bird directly to Petroglyph Animal Hospital. Larry worked patiently under the watchful gaze of the adult Red-tails until the youngster was free. He then transported it Petroglyph, where Dr. Kariana Jones treated the bird for dehydration, and gave him an initial cleaning. Later in the day, the bird was taken to a Hawks Aloft rehabilitator, Jim Battaglia, who, along with Larry, Steve Elkins, Tony Giancola, Gail Garber, and Dean Balmer continued cleaning the bird with mineral oil, Dawn dish detergent, and Goo-Be-Gone.

Photo by Tony Giancola

Photo by Tony Giancola

 

Jim Battaglia hard at work. Photo by Tony Giancola.

Jim Battaglia hard at work. Photo by Tony Giancola.

 

Photo by Tony Giancola

Photo by Tony Giancola

After being thoroughly cleansed of tar, the young hawk recuperated overnight. The following morning Larry, along with his wife Kim, Steve Elkins, Tony Giancola, and others, took the bird back to his nest site and released him. He lingered on the ground before climbing a nearby fence pole, all the while calling for his parents. After a time, the parents showed up with a huge rabbit for breakfast and the young hawk called out joyously. He flew nearly 30 feet to a nearby post, and at that time, Larry left the family to their privacy.

The Red-tailed Hawk just after release. Photo by Tony Giancola.

The Red-tailed Hawk just after release. Photo by Tony Giancola.

 

The hawk's sibling looks on. Photo by Tony Giancola.

The hawk’s sibling looks on. Photo by Tony Giancola.

 

Photo by Tony Giancola

Photo by Tony Giancola

“I’ve had such a strong bond with this raptor, I’ve watched him grown from an egg to an almost flight ready hawk … It just couldn’t have turned out any better, with so many things falling into place to allow him to survive and be released back to his home nest,” Larry said of the experience. “It gives me hope for future rescues. I am one very lucky guy to have experienced this and [I] wouldn’t trade it for the world.”


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Maggie Grimason is a writer and educator at Hawks Aloft

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If You Find a Baby Bird

Robin Fledgling 6-12

A Robin fledgling discovered by Hawks Aloft Executive Director, Gail Garber

As spring progresses and the promise of summer takes shape in the form of longer, warmer days, a flurry of activity is taking place overhead. Birds are breeding and nesting, and soon, all the effort of courtship and nest building will come to fruition as a new generation hatches. For outdoor enthusiasts and bird lovers—especially those who have taken the time to provide a habitat for local birds in their yards—it is not uncommon to find a young bird, seemingly helpless and marooned. Yet, weak and clumsy as they may seem, it is a rare occasion when these youngsters need our help.

Frequently, young birds found on the ground are recent fledglings. This means they are just testing out their flight skills and it is not uncommon for them to end up grounded. If the bird appears to be mostly fully feathered, usually with short tail feathers, able to hop around and take short flights, it is likely a fledgling. If there is no looming danger to the young bird, leave it alone. Fledglings, while taking their first flights and gaining independence, are still in the care of their parents who are likely nearby. Keep pets inside and allow the bird to find its own way home. If this is an impossibility, perch the bird in a shrub or the boughs of a low tree.

Young Ferruginous Hawks

Young Ferruginous Hawks

Occasionally a nestling may fall from, or be pushed from the nest before it is ready to fledge. If the bird is naked, or with very few feathers, it is safe to assume it is a nestling. If uninjured, take some time to try to spot the nest. If possible, simply place the nestling back in its home. The pervasive myth that if a young bird is handled by a human its parents will notice the scent and abandon the young is just that—a myth. If the nest can’t be located, you may engineer a small, makeshift nest from something like a berry basket or another small container with a few channels for drainage in the bottom. Line the container with soft materials and then secure it to a tree as near as possible to where the bird was found.

There are some exceptions to these general rules, however. If you find a bird, any bird, that has been injured by a cat, call a local wildlife rehabilitator. Almost always, a bird that has been attacked by a cat will need antibiotics. At Hawks Aloft we have a 24-hour raptor rescue hotline for birds of prey, and Wildlife Rescue, Inc. is also an option for birds and other animals that need rehabilitation. In addition, if the young bird is quite evidently injured (i.e. bleeding, wings drooped unevenly) or if you are absolutely certain that the bird’s mother is dead, secure the youngster in a warm, dry, and dark space and contact a wildlife rehabilitator immediately.

Young Northern Harriers

Young Northern Harriers

The impulse to help the animals we love is strong, but sometimes that care and concern isn’t in the best interest of those we seek to help. Often, the best thing we can do for the young birds we discover grounded is to resist the urge to intervene. If you have any doubts or questions about the appropriate course of action if you’ve found a baby bird, don’t hesitate to contact Hawks Aloft or a another local wildlife rehabilitator.


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Maggie Grimason is a writer and educator at Hawks Aloft

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Rescuing A Golden Eagle – It Took a Village

Often, folks who call about injured raptors over estimate the size of the injured bird, but not always.  Such was the case when, on December 9, 2014, we received a call from David Berryman and Craig Sizemore from the Central New Mexico Electric Cooperative.  He said, “we rescued a hawk in  Estancia, NM.”  We dispatched Julia Davis, our Education Coordinator, to go pick up the hawk.  When she arrived back at our office, the hawk was wrapped in a warm, insulated canvas, winter-weight jacket and stuffed into a long but very narrow box.  We took a peek at the tail feathers and new immediately that THIS WAS NO HAWK!

Examining the injured wing of the Golden Eagle

Examining the injured wing of the Golden Eagle

We wondered just how they had managed to stuff the eagle into the small box.  Our patient, a hatch year Golden Eagle,  seemed nonplussed by the whole affair, and nonchalantly withstood poking and prodding.   The eagle had damage to the hand area of the left wing, with severe abrasions and blot clots.  We cleaned and wrapped the wing, and examined rest of the bird for further injuries.

Extending the let to look for injuries

Extending the let to look for injuries

We marveled at the size of the eagle’s feet as well as the weight of the bird.

Golden Eagle feet

Golden Eagle feet

Gail and the Golden EagleWe sent the eagle to one of our veterinarians in Albuquerque for assessment, but got a return call that they could not take care of the bird.  It soon became apparent that this fellow was beyond our capabilities here as we do not have sufficient facilities to care for a bird of this size.  We called in The Wildlife Center in Espanola, NM.  Katherine Eagleson, Executive Director, graciously agreed to take the bird and even drive to Santa Fe to meet us. Before we sent him off, we took some images to illustrate the size of a Golden Eagle relative to other hawks.  This time, the eagle traveled in style in an eagle-sized crate with Julia again as his driver.

The Wildlife Center has communicated regularly regarding the progress of this patient, one of the most gorgeous birds we’ve ever had the privilege of rescuing.  According to Kerrin Grant, Wildlife Care Director at the Wildlife Center, the injury appears to be entanglement with a barbed wire fence. The wingtip of the eagle eventually died and had to be removed so this handsome fella will not be releasable.

Golden Eagle rescued in Estancia by Central New Mexico Electric Cooperative.  Image by Kerrin Grant.

Golden Eagle rescued in Estancia by Central New Mexico Electric Cooperative. Image by Kerrin Grant.

Although the eagle remains in recovery, The Wildlife Center will be seeking permanent accommodations for this young bird, perhaps at one of the eagle aviaries owned by a Native American Tribal Government.  We wish this beautiful bird well in his future.  We thank everyone who had a hand in saving him:  Central New Mexico Electric Coop, The Wildlife Center, and Hawks Aloft — all working together to find the best solution for an extraordinary bird.

Rescued Golden Eagle. Image by Kerrin Grant, The Wildlife Center

Rescued Golden Eagle. Image by Kerrin Grant, The Wildlife Center

 

 

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“We Found a Hawk”

Just last week, we received a call from Craig Sizemore at Central New Mexico Electric Cooperative about a ‘hawk’ they had rescued in Estancia.  Julia Davis raced out to meet them in Edgewood and returned with, not a hawk, but a Golden Eagle! And, it was stuffed like a sausage into a very small box. One look at the tail tip, and it was clear that this was NO hawk.

Gail and Lisa begin the medical exam.

Gail and Lisa begin the medical exam

Gail held the bird while Lisa did the exam.  She began by looking at the obviously injured left wing, where the ‘hand’ area of the bird was clearly injured, but no fractures were evident.  Lisa applied an antibiotic ointment to the injured area and wrapped up the wing to prevent further damage.

Right Wing extended

Right Wing extended

She still had to examine the rest of the eagle, who was patient beyond belief while Lisa poked and prodded looking for another hidden problem.

Extending the leg

Extending the leg

Each of the legs had to be extended to ensure that no hidden problem lurked there.

Eagle Feet

Eagle Feet

Check out the size of these feet!  It is clear why this is a two person operation.

Full Body Eagle

Full Body Eagle

We were extremely thankful that this big bird was so cooperative, and struggled little. The image above gives a good comparison of the size of a Golden Eagle relative to an average-sized woman.

All Wrapped Up

All Wrapped Up

Exam over, we began looking for an appropriate sized box into which to place the eagle to transport it to Lisa’s facility.  Not a single eagle-sized box was to be had at our office, or any of the other offices in our business park!  What’s up with that?  So, it was a three person job to move the eagle to Lisa’s facility. We covered his head with a towel, and Lisa belted in Gail and the Eagle in the front passenger seat, while Julia Davis followed behind with Gail’s car.  It was not your average day at the Hawks Aloft office.

The following morning, it again took two people to medicate the bird and get it to the vet, then onward to The Wildlife Center in Espanola where the eagle is recuperating. We hope that this juvenile will be releasable. While rescues like these are heartwarming, and we gain so much from working with these birds, the staff time necessary to care for each bird is completely unfunded except for member donations.

We thank Craig and his colleagues for rescuing this young Golden Eagle, and for following up to check on his progress.  As we were sending off the young eagle, we took the opportunity to snap a couple of photos.

Lisa Morgan, Raptor Rescue Coordinator

Lisa Morgan, Raptor Rescue Coordinator

Gail Garber, Executive Director

Gail Garber, Executive Director

 

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Through the Eyes of an Intern, No. 5: Rescues

Lisa in the office, holding the Great Horned Owl we rescued

Lisa in the office, holding the Great Horned Owl we rescued

I finally had the chance to go on my first few rescues. Most recentl of which was a Western Kingbird, which is now recovering from its twisted knee joint; a Cooper’s Hawk with severe head trauma; and a Great Horned Owl, camping out on a family’s fence because of a broken left wrist. He was beautiful and impressive even in his crippled state. I don’t think I’ll ever forget casually glancing at the box into which Lisa, our rescue coordinator, had just wrestled him, and suddenly seeing nothing but one luminous, sunflower-yellow eye neatly filling one of the air holes in the box. No wonder great-horns are so often seen as symbols of power and strength; I wouldn’t even dare call the chicks “cute,” they’re too intimidating! We are unsure of his prognosis, but I’ll keep you updated for sure.

A better story is that of my first rescue, several weeks ago now:

It had been a long day. I’d been up since five a.m. to go on a Willow Flycatcher survey with our director, Gail, in the bosque just north of Alameda. That in itself was fantastic, as we saw everything from a flock of Eastern Bluebirds and Black Phoebes (which are probably my favorite just because they’re so adorable) to a Snowy Egret, two types of woodpeckers, and an Indigo Bunting. But it was nearing two p.m. and the afternoon sleepies were hitting me pretty hard—until Lisa, who sits at the desk behind me, turned around and said, “HEY. You wanna come with me on a rescue?”

Well, that woke me up. How could I say no? The one part of Hawks Aloft that I had not yet experienced was rescues, aside from the occasional raptors Lisa would bring in like just another briefcase and keep in the office while she finished up her computer work. (I kid! She treats all the birds with a healthy dose of respect and love, and if I were an injured bird, I’d certainly want her to be the one taking care of me!) We hopped in her car and headed for a vague address in Moriarty. An hour and a half later, I felt nothing but gratitude for the inventor of GPS and a burning curiosity as to what a rescue actually involved. Running around after a panicked bird? Bandaging wings and consoling stricken house owners?

A Prairie Falcon coming in for a landing on a cottonwood tree. Photo by Doug Brown

A Prairie Falcon coming in for a landing on a cottonwood tree. Photo by Doug Brown

Pulling into a beautifully landscaped yard, I was surprised to see the husband actually sitting on the lawn less than a foot away from the bird, which he had been able to approach and take in from his field. Pro-tip: you don’t want your face that close to talons that sharp, much less to pet it just inches away from an equally sharp beak. But I digress. Lisa identified it as a juvenile, probably female, Prairie Falcon, and quickly got to work, first picking up the falcon and looking at its head, then examining its wings for fractures. Here’s where it got interesting for me, since the falcon was clearly well enough to start biting Lisa’s fingers midway through the wing exam: I got to hold the patient! This involved two fingers of one hand around its neck and three of the other around and between its legs, securing its main defenses. After finishing with the wings, which seemed to be in fine condition, she force-fed it a liquid containing amino acids and various other nutrients, wrapped it in a towel, and set it inside the cardboard pet carrier she’d brought with her.

And that was that. Pretty standard procedure, from what I’ve watched of other rescues Lisa has performed; a quick physical and some hydration, then off to a caretaker’s house or a vet’s, depending on the severity of its injuries. A couple days later, she reported that the Prairie Falcon would be unreleasable due to near blindness in one eye. We’re hoping that it can become an Educational Ambassador. Fingers crossed that the permit comes through soon!

I really enjoy going out on rescues, the feeling that I’m doing something to improve a bird’s life, even if that improvement is euthanasia. Loss is a very real aspect of rescue work, and I think it’s probably a good topic for me to learn about in this small and humane way. Buddhism preaches non-attachment and acceptance of life’s innate mutability, but I’m pretty sure anyone could learn that much more personally from just one day’s experience as a rescuer.

A Swainson’s Hawk being harassed by a Western Kingbird. Photo by Doug Brown

A Swainson’s Hawk being harassed by a Western Kingbird. Photo by Doug Brown

To end on a happier note, though, I saw two raptors on our drive to and from picking up the Prairie Falcon. I later identified them (all by myself! go me!) as light-morph Swainson’s Hawks, the first time I’ve seen them as far as I know. Anytime I feel stuck—in my work, relationships, day-to-day life—I think about these beautiful raptors, who soar through the sky and make even the mundane necessity that is hunting a majestic occasion. I’m learning that if I keep my mind as open as their prairie habitats, anything can be awe-inspiring in its own small way.

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Mom & Dad Know What They Are Doing

Written by Lisa Morgan, Raptor Rescue Coordinator.

On June 7, we received a call from a retirement community in Rio Rancho about FIVE Cooper’s Hawk chicks that had been blown out of a nest high in a cottonwood tree. Two chicks survived the fall. We determined that the best option was to return the chicks to the cottonwood tree where their parents could continue caring for them – even though we could never locate the nest.

Cooper's Hawk Brancher.  Image by Sandy Skeba

Cooper’s Hawk Brancher. Image by Sandy Skeba

With the help of PNM Resources, and their tree climbing crew, Trees, Inc., we set about making an artificial nest in the tree from whence they came.  The crew first installed a human-constructed nest consisting of a wicker basket and natural nest lining materials.

Trees, Inc. staff installing the wicker basket nest.  Image by PNM Resources.

Trees, Inc. staff installing the wicker basket nest. Image by PNM Resources.

Once the nest was thoroughly secured in the tree, it was time to hoist the nestlings back up and into their new home, where their parents still waited even though it had been four days since the chicks were taken.

Bob Mongiello prepares to return a Cooper's Hawk nestling to its new nest.

Bob Mongiello prepares to return a Cooper’s Hawk nestling to its new nest.  Image by PNM Resources.

The two chicks settled right into their human-constructed nest, just as if they had always been there.  Dad Cooper’s Hawk even attempted to deliver food to his chicks while all this was in progress, although he was frightened off by all the commotion.

Re-nested Cooper's Hawk chicks.  Image by PNM Resources.

Re-nested Cooper’s Hawk chicks. Image by PNM Resources.

The biggest issue we contended with was  concerned citizens that continued trying to come to the aid of these chicks, disturbing their parents’ attempts to care for them.
In the end, it was a successful return once we were able to educate the neighbors about the privacy needs of the hawk family. Although it can be difficult to watch these youngsters on the ground, in nearly all cases it best to allow the families to stay together and the parents to continue caring for their youngsters.

PNMlogo-ColorPos cmyk 300dpi

We thank PNM for allowing the use of their tree-climbing crew, Trees, Inc.  We also thank PNM Resources staff:  Thad Petzold, Ryan Baca, John Acklen, Stephen Saletta, and Bob Mongiello.

 

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Baby Cooper’s Hawks Return to the Wild

We thank PNM, who generously provided their professional tree-climbing crew to put a makeshift nest high in a tree for baby Cooper’s Hawks. The original nest and five nestlings were blown out of a tree in Rio Rancho during last Sunday’s high winds and dust storm.

“Dusk was coming, dust was everywhere and the wind was blowing hard. No one was out in the nasty weather but me and the PNM linemen,” said rescuer Lisa Morgan, Raptor Rescue Coordinator.

Coo[er's Hawk Nestlings

Coo[er’s Hawk Nestlings

  Unfortunately, only two of the birds survived the fall. Today those two were returned to the area where their parents were last seen. Tree climbing crews from PNM’s vegetation management department helped secure the new man-made nest high in a Cottonwood tree and delivered them to their new home.

While crews were working to renest the chicks, the father returned to the area to watch over his nestlings.

“PNM has a longstanding commitment to avian protection. We have enjoyed our partnership with Hawks Aloft, Inc. through many different programs designed to protect birds in New Mexico,” said John Acklen, project manager, PNM Environmental Services. “We certainly hope these little Cooper’s Hawks thrive in their new home.”

Cooper’s Hawks may “dive-bomb” pedestrians who come close to their nests. This activity will subside within the next few weeks. People should wear hats, carry umbrellas and avoid areas where Cooper’s Hawks are nesting.

With headquarters in Albuquerque, PNM is the largest electricity provider in New Mexico, serving 500,000 customers in dozens of communities across the state. PNM is a subsidiary of PNM Resources, an energy holding company also headquartered in Albuquerque. For more information, visit PNM.com.

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Hawks Aloft Volunteers to the Rescue

Davedda Thomas and her Precious Cargo

Davedda Thomas and her Precious Cargo

One thing’s for sure at the Hawks Aloft office — Life is never dull!  Thanks to our Raptor Rescue Team, we never know what will come our way.  This week, Davedda and Tony Thomas volunteered to drive to Vaughn, New Mexico to transport birds to Albuquerque.  The birds were coming up from Desert Willow Animal Clinic where Dr. Samantha Rayroux takes in injured birds in that part of the state.  We put the call for help out on e-mail, and Davedda called right back!  It’s a 2+ hour drive one way to get to Vaughn, plus the return! So, it was mid-afternoon when they showed up with their precious load of cargo.

Two of the boxes held one bird each: a Great Horned Owl and a Merlin (a small falcon).  Lori Paras from the Santa Fe Raptor Center was on hand to take them the remainder of their journey to her facility, the Santa Fe Raptor Center for care.  That left one box, destined for Wildlife Rescue of New Mexico, a local wildlife rehabilitation organization, containing an educational Chihuahuan Raven also known as the white-necked raven.  Look carefully at the boxes – one of them is not like the others.

Peeking Out

Peeking Out

Seems the young lady had been pounding away on the five hour journey up from Carlsbad and had worn a small hole in the box top.  With a little extra lift,

Help Let me out of here!

Help Let me out of here!

she got her first look at us.  The female raven was illegally held by a family in the Carlsbad area, where she lived in their house with free reign, and liked to eat pizza.  An obvious imprint, this was not a good start for a bird that should have been wild.  She will become the newest member of the Wildlife Rescue educational ambassadors.  Lisa Morgan, our Raptor Rescue Coordinator and I had offered to put her equipment on, the bracelets and leather straps that all education birds wear.  So, we opened the box a little wider and

Ebony

Ebony, so named by the Desert Willow Staff

she made herself right at home in the office.  We enjoyed her company for a couple of hours and what a treat it was!  It was hard to hand this charmer of a bird over to her new caretaker, Jim Battaglia.  We hope to keep visiting rights.

Ebony from Carlsbad

Ebony, from Carlsbad

Although she might be physically perfect, imprinting is irreversible as the animal does not recognize its own species, and thinks that it is like those that raised it.

 

 

 

 

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