An Unexpected Guest

As I was out watering the other evening, I noticed a small group of neighbors across the street corner looking at something on the ground. I was curious so walked over and asked what it was. They stepped aside and I saw what seemed to be a fledgling hawk on the ground, wings spread out, very frightened. I couldn’t tell whether or not it was injured, but it had obviously had a hard landing on the street. We talked and decided that someone needed to call for help… I went back home to get my daughter, who loves birds, and cares for her pet cockatiels with very tender loving care. She’d know what to do with this frightened bird.

As my daughter was observing the bird to see if it was injured, I called our local Audubon Society. Unfortunately, they would not be available to help us until 9:00 the next morning, so we had to decide what to do to help this bird survive the night. It was very frightened, and seemed unable to fly back home. We were all worried that it would either get hit by a car, or fall prey to one of the neighborhood gang of cats that roam freely (one was already curious!). Also, there was no shrubbery nearby for it to hide in. We decided, under these circumstances, to take it home so it would be safe overnight, and we would check in with the Audubon Society right at 9:00 in the morning.

Capturing a wild raptor is not something we would normally agree to do, but our daughter has been trained to handle birds with care. She used a towel to cover it and gently put it in a large box my husband brought over. We took it home to our basement, put a small bowl of water in the box, set up a red lamp to keep it warm throughout the night, covered the box with part of an old cage, and left it in the quiet of the night to, hopefully, recover.


Next morning, we talked with the Audubon Society for quite awhile. We told them we didn’t think the bird was injured, that it’s wings seemed to work alright, so they advised us to place it as close to where we found it as possible, in some shrubbery to provide protection, and, hopefully, the parents would hear it calling and help it. So we took the box out into our backyard, which is enclosed by a tall hedge, and opened the box. It wasn’t too long before our sweet young Cooper’s Hawk flapped its wings and jumped up onto the rim of the box. He then jumped and flapped into the hedge and stayed there all day.

We heard a couple of calls during the day, but mostly he was silent and as still as a statue in the hedge. But, sometime in the late afternoon, he left. We didn’t see him go, but he must have recovered enough to fly. We walked around the neighborhood, looking to see if he landed anywhere else, but, happily, he was nowhere to be found. We wish him well, this beautiful hawk!



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