Sunrise over the Rio Grande Bosque..
I thought the week before last would be a quiet one. My special projects are done (except for the paperwork), and I just have three Bosque transects a week. These areas can be challenging, but since they were drying up after the Rio Grande spent the spring outside its banks, I thought there wouldn’t be much to write about. Then…
On Wednesday, after an early morning and a long day in the field, I was headed home when I got a call from work about an injured hawk in my vicinity. I didn’t have a net or box with me, but I carry a pair of light leather gloves in my car for emergencies. When I arrived, Valerie, the homeowner, pointed me to a full-sized Red-tailed Hawk fledgling sitting on her horse fence. There was no way to contain him if he scuttled away, so I sidled up to him and managed to hold his stare, a’la Crocodile Dundee, then I grabbed him by his legs! The hawk, and Valerie, started screeching, and she ran back to the house to get a camera. Meanwhile, I examined my “bird in hand”, but I couldn’t feel any injuries. He only flapped a few moments, then leaned into my arms. We put him in an empty diaper box Valerie had in the garage, and I headed back to the office. Thankfully, Keith met me 12 miles down the highway, took the bird there, and then Kim, the educator, drove the hawk to the Wildlife Center in Espanola, about 70 miles. The only problem they could find was a large thorn in his foot. They removed it, and he proceeded to stuff his beak. He was also a little droopy, but maybe that’s just a typical teenager!
Another “rescue” was the very next day. We got the call from the local Fish and Wildlife office. A golf course groundskeeper found a young bird and its dead parent together on the grass. He initially reported it as an osprey. The F & W people thought it was a Cooper’s hawk. When we arrived to take it to a rehab, it morphed into a Swainson’s! The parent bird was perfect, except for being dead. The baby was quite spunky, a little on the thin side. He took 2 mice from me then started sassing us. As a veterinary technician, I was planning on doing a necropsy. F & W was interested in case the parent had been shot. But the local rehabber that the baby went to was not only possessive of the live bird, but insisted on taking the dead one as well. I don’t know what, if anything, they found, but the remaining parent has continued to take care of the chick in the nest.
Since I’m usually the one taking pictures, it’s not often that I have such great shots of me with a bird. But thanks, Valerie, for the photos!