Red-tailed Hawk Ready to Return Home

May 23, 2023

This past January, a collision with a vehicle caused a significant collarbone injury to a Red-tailed Hawk. Such incidents are a common occurrence as birds of prey frequently hunt for prey along highway medians, putting themselves at risk to oncoming cars and trucks.

First brought to Green Chimneys’ local veterinary partner Brewster Vet Hospital, the hawk was given fluids and began its recuperation, thanks to the quick response of the veterinary team. care. As the hawk gained strength, it was able to advance to the Green Chimneys Wildlife Center. Once here, our skilled wildlife caretakers ensured the hawk had the necessary components needed to fully heal: optimal diet, clean water, and the right space based on its specific needs. Under the care of our team, with some help from Green Chimneys students, the hawk moved from a small rehab cage, which limited its movement so the collarbone could heal, to our large flight cage where it has been rebuilding endurance and strength in its wings.

Each week, students have had the opportunity to participate in the hawk’s rehabilitation, witnessing the delicate care for an injured wild animal to understanding the responsibilities that come with being an active steward of nature in our community. Together, staff and students observed tremendous growth in the hawk’s healing as it now can successfully fly throughout the flight cage. And as part of the traditional close of our annual Birds of Prey Day, students will now get to see the rehabilitation process through to its highest reward…a dramatic return back to the wild. It’s an emotional moment that means even more at Green Chimneys where students learn and grow over time, acquiring the skills they’ve needed to succeed at Green Chimneys, and beyond.

Every opportunity in nature is a lesson and this story is just one of many at the Wildlife Center. This Red-tailed Hawk is the 22nd rehabilitated bird release of 2023 and now that we’re heading toward summer, rehabilitation season is getting even busier with an increase in baby songbirds. These needs will be met with a new songbird flight cage constructed by volunteers this past spring. Designed for smaller birds, the enclosure will allow for “soft releases” back into the wild via small door that can be left open for healed birds to fly off on their own.

Animal rescue and rehabilitation is a meaningful way to learn about the benefits of human-animal connection. For students who are typically the care receiver, the opportunity to step into a role as caregiver is a truly empowering experience, and Green Chimneys is a truly a place to provide that.

What can you do if you find an injured bird?

Tips from Green Chimneys’ Wildlife Caretaker:

  • Call a rehabilitator right away when you think a bird is injured, ensuring not to touch it until you speak to a professional. The Animal Help Now app can locate rehabilitators in your area.
  • If possible, contain the bird in a box or carrier, or at least put something over the bird – such as a towel or light blanket – until a rehabilitator can get to the bird.
  • Do not give food or water yourself, unless instructed to do so by a professional
  • You can bird-proof your home, and specifically your windows, which cause many bird accidents throughout the year, by installing stickers or decals, or even plants on the outside of the window, so the window doesn’t appear invisible to birds.

Learn more about wildlife rescue and rehabilitation at Green Chimneys