Red-tailed hawk rescue at West

Falcons work together to rescue injured raptor

Jessica Winkler of Wild-Wildlife Rehab of the QC cradles the red-tailed hawk that is about to be transported to Animal Family Care Center. The bird of prey will be evaluated before either being released back into the wild or to the organization RARE (Raptor Advocacy, Rehabilitation, and Education)if further rehabilitation is required.

Darien Gordon

Joseph Heirigs, Reporter

Update: Animal Family Vet Center checked the red-tailed hawk out and stated that nothing was broken. The raptor was thin and had been eaten up by gnats and will be visiting a raptor center to get healthy before being released into the wild. will update as further information is acquired.

On the morning of Friday, May 24 West High became a nest for more than tired, weary students and teachers. An unorthodox way to start the day presented itself after a storm when students discovered an injured juvenile red-tailed hawk outside of the building.

Students were crowded outside looking to and fro from the gutter to the windows, and when substitute teacher Darien Gordon checked on them, they informed her of an injured hawk located just outside of the building.

Gordon notified biology teacher Renne Lietz and art teachers Mark Sade and Andrew Lehn who arrived on the scene to help get the raptor to safety.

“My job was just to hold the door open,” Gordon said. “That’s when I recorded the rescue.”

Sade commented on how this was an entertaining way to start the morning.

The three teachers took a lab coat and made their slow approach on the hawk, covering the bird of prey before gently placing it inside of a plastic storage bin. The hawk was calm and standing up on one leg, which is not typical behavior for a red-tailed hawk.

“[Hawks are] raptors and raptors aren’t swimming birds, so it should not have been standing on one leg,” Lietz said.

Lietz believes the hawk fell from a nearby branch that broke off during the storm last night and may have injured a leg. The hawk was identified to be a red-tailed hawk that Lietz said could not have been more than a year old.

English teacher and newspaper adviser Alissa Hansen contacted the Facebook group Save the Wild-Wildlife Rehab of the QC for assistance. Wildlife rehabber Jessica Winkler quickly responded and retrieved the hawk to transport it to safety so that it can be evaluated by a veterinarian at Animal Family Vet Center. If the raptor is healthy, Winkler will transport it back to West. If the raptor needs rehabilitation, the organization RARE (Raptor Advocacy, Rehabilitation, and Education) will be contacted to then fully rehabilitate the red-tailed hawk before releasing it back into the wild.

Once Winkler arrived, she stated that the hawk appeared to be dehydrated, stressed, and dazed. The condition of the bird is unknown at this time, but will update as soon as any information about the bird of prey’s condition is released.

“I never considered wildlife rehab,” Lietz said, weighing it as an option for retirement.