The Red-tailed Hawk has high tailed it…

It was a long winter for the Red-tailed hawk. I was able to keep it warm enough and ensure its beautiful feathers didn’t get tattered, as can often happen with frustrated birds in captivity. And fortunately (sounds harsh!) there was a constant supply of red-squirrels hit on the road or taken by registered trappers and passed on to me for its food.
For the past week, it had been calling plaintively in its flight cage, looking for a mate, so I knew it was time to release it.
This hawk originally came in from Sioux Lookout last spring. I saw no injuries, other than it was thin and did have a small white patch on its iris, so I watched it steadily gain weight over the course of a few months. A strong windstorm opened up the roof on its flight cage in July and it self-released sometime during the storm. There was no sign of it hanging around the fields, so I assumed it was gone for good.
But then a call came in from Redditt, just north of where I live, from a fellow who told me he had found a hawk on the edge of the road and was able to catch it. When he brought it to me, I recognized the Red-tailed from its white patch on the eye. It was in good body weight, and only had slight bruising from its brush with a vehicle. So back into care it came. Being a bit of a Houdini, it released itself again, and hung around the house eyeing up my chickens. One day, the chickens were sending up a heck of a fuss, with one hen screaming bloody murder! Sadly I did not get up to the coop in time to rescue it, and there was the Red-tailed chowing down on his kill, with my two roosters trying to drive it away. Unfortunately, the roosters and the recapturing had damaged the flight feathers enough that I did not want to risk releasing it until they regrew.
So, it spent the winter…
Yesterday it gained its freedom and flew strong and high…but not before sinking a talon into my pectoralis minor…ungrateful little brat!

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One thought on “The Red-tailed Hawk has high tailed it…

  1. There have been a lot of red squirrels on the roads… Counted four on our short drive into town this morning. Perhaps your hawk was going after one when it had its brush with a vehicle!

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