This weekend, we had an adventure of the avian variety.
On Friday evening, I looked out to the garden and saw large flapping wings inside our bird netting. I was shocked and angry at first, but after we went out there to check it out, we saw it wasn’t a bird trying to steal our berries. It was a hawk…probably chasing after a bird that might have been trying to steal our berries. (You can see him in the shadows below.)
Unfortunately, he’d been stuck for awhile and had really gotten his talons tangled up in the netting.
So, Wyatt got to work cutting him out, which actually took awhile since he had to be really careful to not cut the hawk’s foot, but also to not leave any netting stuck in his talons.
Plus, the hawk would occasionally try and flop around, so we ended up placing a sheet over it to calm it down and hold it still. That let Wyatt get a lot closer without it freaking out.
Finally, he got him cut free, and placed out into the grass where he could fly away.
But he didn’t.
Since he was sort of hanging with his leg out back behind him, we were afraid his leg was possibly broken. He seemed to be dragging it behind him as he waddled around in the yard (although he mostly just sat there, not moving, but looking around at us).
So, we made a few calls, starting with animal control…but we found out that no one was going to come out there and get him, even if he was injured and in need of care. We decided to wait it out and just hope he would recover enough to fly away overnight. We even sat out a bowl of water for him, at the suggestion of one of the wildlife people we talked to.
(That guy also said if we had a mouse handy, we could hit it over the head and put it out for him to eat. I said I thought we’d pass on that, as we don’t have a lot of mice “on hand.”)
But, the next morning, the hawk was still out there, though he had moved around a little bit.
So, we found a place to take him that was pretty nearby, Lakeside Nature Center. I found out they would take care of him if we brought him in. Not exactly what we were hoping for, since that meant we’d need to go catch him and haul him ourselves, but it was better than letting him possibly die in our yard without even trying to help him.
So, Wyatt put on some leather gloves and we grabbed a big cardboard box and a towel to capture him and get him into the car. The hawk had recovered enough to freak out and fly/flap over the garden fence into our neighbor’s yard. We went over with box and broom (for shooing) in tow, and explained the situation.
Our neighbors were super understanding and helped us corner the poor scared guy. They also were interested in the story, considering they’d noticed how much the birds, particularly the blue jays, had been crying and freaking out all day the day before. (I guess blue jays hate hawks, probably because hawks eat blue jays?)
Finally, we captured the hawk and transported him to the box, taped it closed lightly, and loaded him up in the car for the 20 minute drive to the nature center. On the way, we ended up naming him Yard Bird.
And then, we dropped him off there.
The nice lady who checked him into the rehab center said that he seemed to be fine, she wasn’t sure his leg was broken, but that she could tell it was really out of it. She confirmed that he was an adult male cooper’s hawk, which they don’t usually see at the center since they don’t usually get themselves into trouble.
I was concerned at first that we’d end up having to care for/release the hawk ourselves once it was recovered, but although they do want to rerelease him at our house (she said he probably has a nest nearby) she said a staff or volunteer can handle that for us when the time comes.
So, maybe someday we’ll see Yard Bird again… but in the meantime, we’ll just hope he’s recovering well.
Ever had a bird encounter in your yard? I think we’ve had more dealings with wildlife since moving to the suburbs than we ever did in the country. Crazy. Still, we were happy to try and help this guy, as much as we could.