Red Tailed Hawk with Rat/Mouse Trap on Leg
A Day in the Life of a Wildlife Rescuer
Several weeks ago WIN was notified of a hawk in the Erie that had a trap on its leg. One of our Capture and Transport permittees drove to the location to see the bird fly away with something black on its leg.
Five days later another call was made to WIN. It was getting dark by the time the call was made. The next day, a trap was set to coax the hawk in by using live bait, that the hawk could see, but not get hurt. Several people in the neighborhood had seen the adults, and some had seen the young hawk with the trap. Everyone was invested in helping this hawk.
The Young red-tailed hawk would not be able to learn how to hunt with this contraption on its foot. One thing that we did not know is if the parents were still feeding it. Which would determine if the hawk was hungry enough to come to the bait in the trap. The waiting began.
The caller, Kristen, who also provided the photo, and her neighbor Cathy, who so graciously allowed the use of her yard and place inside of her house to sit behind a window, were so hoping to see the hawk captured and trap removed.
It was later in the afternoon before we saw the hawk with the trap. It had flown in a tree right above the trap. Our hearts were in our throats. However, the hawk did not seem to be interested and flew to another yard.
Another trick was used to entice the hawk to the bait, but to no avail. Finally the three of us got together to discuss another plan. The hawk was sitting in a tree about 40 feet up above where we were standing. As we discussed plan be the hawk tried to move down the branch. In doing so the hawk got the trap caught between a fork in the branch. We all looked up and at the same time, said, “Oh my God, the Hawk is caught!!!”
The hawk pulled once, and then twice, and the trap fell off!
Within a few seconds he was flying free and beautifully without the trap. As I studied the photo, and from what I could tell from using the binoculars, the trap was stuck on the back talon. So there was no injury to the foot. Sometimes rescues are out of our hands (reach). But was so glad to see that the trap was off, and that a higher being was in control of the fate of the trap falling off.
How do our permitted capture volunteers contain an injured wild animal who views them as a predator? And how do they capture them safely, avoiding injury to the animal and themselves?
WIN is solely run by volunteers and we rely on the generosity of our donors and sponsors to cover the expenses incurred for our operations. These include the annual cost of the dispatch system, and training and supply costs for our volunteers. You can donate below. You can view our expenses, and our wish list of supplies for our volunteers on the donate page. EIN#: 82-3317562.
If the animal is already captured/contained, go to the Pennsylvania Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators website www.pawr.com to locate your nearest wildlife rehabilitation center. They will advise you on transport options. If the animal needs capture/containment, please contact us.
Wildlife In Need is not permitted to capture deer, bear, adult otters, fishers, bobcats, or venomous snakes. Locate your regional Pennsylvania Game Commission at pgc.pa.gov for mammals listed, and your regional Fish and Boat regional office at fishandboat.com for venomous snakes.