Injured Red-Tailed Hawk Dangles Upside-Down From A Tree

red-tailed hawk being bathed and a treeThe following story was shared with us by All Things Wild Rehabilitation in Texas.

The phone rang one evening at our wildlife rehabilitation center. The caller was a young woman who lived in an apartment building on the edge of a bluff overlooking a creek below. From her balcony she could see the tops of the trees along the creek, and dangling upside down from the top of a tree was a red-tailed hawk.

The Hawk Rescue Begins

red-tailed hawk standing on perch in outdoor penEven though it was late in the day, we grabbed our tallest ladder and headed toward the site with the hawk. The rescue was impossible. The bluff was at least a 50-foot drop, and the hawk was a good 70 feet up in the tree. Nothing could be done. We had no choice but to leave the still-alive and dangling hawk in the tree overnight.

The next morning, we notified Animal Control Services. They put us in touch with the local fire department. The chief agreed to meet us at the site. By now, the hawk had been dangling at least 15 hours. The fire department crew arrived and went to work. Ultimately, they had to cut down the tree, rigging it to fall toward the side of the bluff to cushion the hawk as much as possible.

A Long Road To Recovery

red-tailed hawk releaseOnce we had the hawk in our possession, we rushed him to our center for X-rays and treatment. Our guess was that he was going after a squirrel, missed, and got a talon caught in the tree. Fortunately, the leg was not broken, but the tissue on the leg was badly damaged. The hawk was in shock from his long, upside-down ordeal.

Hawkins, as we named him, accepted the electrolyte fluids and EmerAid IC Carnivore that we tubed into him until he was stable enough to be fed bits of mice. In the beginning, Hawkins couldn’t put any weight on the leg. As time went by, he began to heal. It was a long process, taking almost five months. Once he was acclimated to the outside in our large raptor enclosure and strongly flying and perching, he was ready to return to the wild.

On a beautiful, sunny morning, with the fire department crew and a crowd of Hawkins’ supporters in attendance, we released the healthy red-tail hawk by the apartment building at the bluff overlooking the creek.