Even Birds of Prey Need a Little Help Sometimes

It’s a full house this week at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. A full bird house, that is as it prepares to rehabilitate two owls and a hawk.

Maggie Jones, executive director of the nature center attends to a broad-wing hawk. Credit: Elissa Bass/DPNC
Maggie Jones, executive director of the nature center attends to a broad-wing hawk. Credit: Elissa Bass/DPNC

A release from Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center:

On Monday, two barred owls that had been brought in with dehydration after being found tangled in kite line on Dec. 28 were reunited for the first time in an outdoor birdhouse. One of the two owls had been at a local veterinary hospital recovering after the ordeal, while the other recuperated at DPNC.

In addition, an injured broad-winged hawk that had been rescued by a concerned motorist on the side of Interstate-95 in Warwick, R.I. was relocated to an outside bird shelter to continue his recovery from a badly broken wing.

The two owls were found in a backyard in Waterford by two children outside playing. Both were badly tangled in kite line and had been dangling from a low tree for at least eight hours, according to Maggie Jones, executive director of the DPNC.

“They were exhausted, dehydrated and weak,” she said. The male was so weak that he was brought to a vet, while the female was rehydrated at the nature center. The male was released from the vet hospital on Saturday, and on Monday, the pair was reunited to finish their recuperation.

“We are assuming they are a pair,” Jones said. “I extrapolated from what happened that one of the owls became entangled and then the other owl came in to either investigate or help or even try and mate, and also became tangled.” Both owls suffered cuts as well.

Jones expects they will be released in about a week. It is the nature center policy to release when possible where the birds were found, so they will return to that backyard in Waterford. Barred owls are typical to the area, although more often they are heard and not seen. They do form ‘pair bonds,’ this time of year and by mid-March they will be nesting.

As for the hawk, his injury was so severe that the wing had to be surgically pinned back together, and so he is not a candidate for release. Jones hopes he can be transitioned into the education department at the nature center. Broad-winged hawks typically migrate to South America in mid-September, and return to the Northeast in early spring. They are the smallest of the three soaring hawks and in addition to small mammals they eat insects and snakes.

The hawk was brought in by a man who drove past it for four days on I-95. It was always scavenging for food along the roadside, and clearly could not fly. The man captured it safely and brought it to the Nature Center on Nov. 2.




Judith Salerno January 07, 2014 at 07:40 AM
Many thanks and much appreciation to Maggie and the staff at DPNC for their compassion and care of these amazing birds. So thankful that we have such a wonderful facility in our town! Also to the man who stopped and rescued the hawk in RI and the family in Waterford who took the time from their busy day to ensure these birds were helped.


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