Yesterday morning I was walking up the driveway when I saw a movement in the grass by the fence. It was a Red Tailed hawk. Instead of trying to fly away it just tried to hide closer to the fence in some taller grass. I went in the house and called the University of Illinois Raptor rehabilitation center and they said that if I could put it in a box without getting myself hurt I should bring it right in - or they could send someone out but that would take awhile.
I put on gloves and a long sleeve shirt and had no trouble getting the hawk to go in the box. I couldn't see any injuries but I'm sure it was hurt pretty badly or sick because it was so passive. We had a bad storm two nights before with high winds and hail. I wonder if it was injured then. It was too far from the road to have been hit by a car.
The wild animal clinic has the same check-in desk as the raptor clinic and as I was checking in a man brought a small box of baby bunnies. This cheered me up because now I knew my hawk would have something to eat and would hopefully get better.
Generally, I am against bringing a wild animal to the clinic unless it is a rare species (which a Red Tailed Hawk is not). It is part of that food chain thing - the circle of life. I'd much rather see the money spent on habitat improvement.
But a hawk in my driveway? I couldn't help but to take it in. Most (if not all) the hawks shown for educational purposes have been injured and are not able to be released back into the wild.
The hawk in the picture is overlooking wetlands we have been working to restore. This area was once wetlands, then drained, the stream channelized and the field turned into a corn and bean field. It still floods about every other year so I don't know how the farmer could afford to plant there unless he had good crop insurance.
The Red Tailed Hawk
I have set the red tailed hawk free
I have climbed high on the mountain
I have seen the demons of the heart, the soul, and the mind
And I have time to know them