“A lucky bird”: a young red-tailed hawk injured, cured, then released near the League campus
SYRACUSE, NY – Sometimes bad things happen after a young bird leaves its nest. Sometimes, however, there can be a happy ending when humans step in.
This was the case on Thursday morning when a young red-tailed hawk, injured just over two weeks after apparently crashing into a window of a building on the Syracuse University campus, was released into the wild at the cemetery Oakwood neighbor.
The male bird, named Ayla, was the first to hatch from two chicks in the Red-tailed Hawk’s Nest on Lyman Hall on the SU campus, which is under constant observation courtesy of nest cam. He took flight (he flew from the nest) on June 16 at the age of 50 days.
On July 5, however, he was spotted by a professor at Syracuse University who was jumping to the ground, unable to take off in front of the Heroy Geology Lab building. It was later determined that he flew into a low-level window on the building, injuring himself.
“I saw him around 10 a.m. in the field, then again about an hour later and called campus security,” said Tripti Bhattacharya, who teaches and does research in science. land and environment. She took a short video of the bird trying unsuccessfully to fly.
Syracuse University is fairly protective of its red-tailed falcon family, posting signs around campus alerting students and staff to report any problems with the birds – especially during the time when young birds are taking flight. The campus public safety office, upon hearing of any issues, immediately informs Anne Marie Higgins, a Syracuse University alumnus and avid birding enthusiast who roams the campus almost daily, checking the red-tailed falcon family status.
The two adult birds, named Sue and Otto, by Syracuse officials, have been breeding in SU since 2012. Their year-round hunting grounds cover Syracuse University and the adjacent SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry campus ( ESF), near Oakwood. and the cemeteries of Morningside, Thornden Park and areas near the university.
Syracuse University Red-tailed Hawk’s Nest Camera, which can be viewed online, was set up in 2017. It was paid for by a donation from Higgins in memory of her husband, Thomas (Tim) W. Higgins, Jr., a municipal court judge, who died in 2009, just 18 days after been diagnosed with leukemia. Higgins and her husband were avid bird watchers, and hawks were their favorite raptor.
Higgins has since written a book, “Dancing in the realms: a love story beyond death”, which recounts how she thinks her husband communicates with her from the afterlife, in some cases through red-tailed hawks and other raptors
“Falcons were our favorite birds. They are messengers from the spirit world, ”she said.
After receiving the phone call from the League’s public safety office on July 5, Higgins, who lives about 2.5 miles from campus, rushed out with DeAnn Buss, a friend. They found the injured bird on the ground.
Higgins, who said he rescued red-tailed hawks shot five times previously on campus, put on a pair of thick gloves and walked slowly over to her. She quickly draped a towel over her head and grabbed her by the back, making sure her talons were pointed away from her.
Buss opened the tailgate of Higgins’ vehicle, as well as the dog crate door. Higgins put the bird in the cage and closed its door. She then draped a blanket over the cage to keep the bird calm.
Higgins then telephoned Cindy Page of Manlius, a wildlife rehabilitator who is licensed to deal with injured wild raptors. Page, believing the bird might have a broken wing or other serious injury, recommended Higgins take him to Janet Swanson Wildlife Hospital at Cornell University in Ithaca, where the bird spent six days recovering of what appeared to be a minor shoulder injury.
“There were no tears or tears in the muscles or ligaments. He was most likely bruised, ”Page said.
Upon his release, Higgins then picked up the bird and drove it to Page’s facility, where she tested it in his flight cage building, confirming that it was ready to be released into the wild.
Late Thursday morning, with Higgins, Buss, League staff and several reporters on hand, Page brought the bird to Oakwood Cemetery, which is about half a mile from the nest where the bird had been. flew away.
As the small group walked a short distance through the graveyard, a smiling Higgins pointed to a nearby radio tower on campus. “There. On Mount Olympus. Here it is mum! She said.
Once the release zone was reached, Page put the sturdy white cage containing the bird on the ground. She stood nearby as Bhattacharya, who initially briefed everyone on the bird’s situation, had the honor of opening the cage. Within seconds, the red-tailed hawk jumped up, then quickly flew about 30 yards and perched in a spruce tree.
Page said it was a lucky bird.
“Seventy percent of the red-tailed hawks that take flight do not reach their second birthday,” she said. “Anything we can do to give them a second chance is a real plus. “
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