Students Celebrate Release of Rehabilitated Hawk

February 12, 2021

Earlier this month, a juvenile Sharp-shinned hawk was released back to the wild. Originally rescued in Westchester County, the hawk appeared injured after striking a window and needed time and opportunity to rehabilitate without the threat of predators. At Green Chimneys and under expert care, it was able to rest, access food, and practice flying. Fortunately, the young hawk was stunned and did not sustain significant head injuries. It recuperated quickly and showed clear signs of strength.

Bird releases in winter require careful consideration. While a snowy landscape can pose a challenge to some wildlife, Sharp-shinned hawks primarily hunt smaller birds. With an ample food supply in the area and the return of good health, the juvenile hawk was deemed fit for release. Green Chimneys School students learned the hawk’s story during wildlife class and were invited to celebrate its release. And on a brisk winter day, with a sky of blue and acres of trees within reach, students wished the hawk well before it took flight.

The hawk’s journey to recovery included a network of helpers, from caring citizens and a rescuer to colleagues from the Bronx River Sound – Shore Audubon Society and Animal Nation before being transported to our Brewster campus. All throughout the year, Green Chimneys provides respite and rehabilitation to injured birds through the Paul C. Kupchok Wildlife Center. The Sharp-shinned hawk is one of over 100 birds we will likely take in this year. In fact, the ripple effects of the pandemic and social distancing have brought more people outdoors for recreation, thus multiplying the number of individuals identifying birds in need. As a result, Green Chimneys helped 180 birds in 2020, nearly double our yearly average. As the pandemic and outdoor recreation continue, Green Chimneys endures an influx in demand to help injured wildlife.

Green Chimneys students, those learning to cope with complex emotional and learning challenges, become not only pupils of wildlife, the environment, and the rehabilitation process. Students become caregivers, too. Making connections with the natural world, experiencing empathy, and taking pride in caring for another living being are just a few ways students are learning and growing in the classroom and on the farm.

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