The rescue of a Cooper’s Hawk

As I took out the recycling this evening (Thursday, January 17, 2013) I heard the sound of a bird in distress near our front door.  The box of empty bottles and cans was put aside and a flash light found, and I stuck my head into the hedge from which the sound was coming.

This was what I found:

A small Cooper’s Hawk, with a broken left wing, and in a bad case of shock, shaking uncontrollably.

A quick search online for “injured raptor VA” sent me to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website for what to do with injured creatures. The page is a valuable resource for all sorts of emergencies, and fortunately includes a link to a list of licensed rehabilitators.

Laura phoned The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia while I followed the instructions for an injured adult bird, and picked up the bird, placing it in a large cardboard box padded with a thick shop towel.  By this stage the poor thing was in deep shock and made no attempt to resist me picking it up.  The body was so light, and shock continuously.  I put the box in our cloak room, safe from the cats but warmer than outside while Laura and I pulled on coats and checked directions to the Conservancy as they had said they were eager to help the bird as soon as possible.

Laura drove us, with me holding a somewhat noisy, and occasionally jumping box.  With the car nice and warm my fears that the shock would have killed the bird before we arrived were unfounded as the panic calls lessened and attempts to get out the box increased.

When we arrived the gentleman who runs the conservancy talked us through his assessment, noting the broken wing, and possible neurological damage.  He wanted to wait a while to let the bird calm down before giving it fluids and a longer assessment, and has promised to tell us how the bird progresses.  He also showed us for comparison a rescued female Cooper’s Hawk that was almost the size of my torso, massive in comparison to our tiny male.

What an amazing evening, and although the Cooper’s Hawk’s flying days may be over I hope it makes a decent recovery to health and can help with the education efforts performed by The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia.

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