Thanks to the combined efforts of law enforcement, animal services, wildlife rehabbers, and a long line of patient motorists, an injured red-tailed hawk has been given a new lease on life.
The Banning-Beaumont Patch first reported on the story six weeks ago when two California Highway Patrol officers responded to a downed red-tailed hawk among the rushing traffic of State Route 60 near Beaumont. Arriving on scene, the patrolmen first closed one westbound lane and then the other to give Riverside County Animal Services officer Caitlin Barron a chance to get to the injured animal. Forgoing the use of protective gloves, Barron threw a towel over the bird – a year-old female with a five-foot wingspan – then whisked her out of danger and into the hands of Project Wildlife rehab specialist Anysia Dickson.
It was a hairy situation, said Barron in the Patch:
“The bird was right next to the center divider. One of the CHP officers said a big rig came along and nearly sucked it up under the trailer…I was afraid the hawk was going to jump over the median into eastbound traffic, but it didn’t even move.”
Once safely off the freeway, the young flier was treated to five star service courtesy of Project Wildlife, where she received fluids, was treated for feather mites and internal parasites, and given plenty of food as she recovered from injuries to her left foot and wing, probably the result of a collision with a car while flying low over the freeway.
After six weeks, the Patch reported she was deemed ready for the wild. Barron and Dickson released her June 23rd on Jack Rabbit Trail, south of the 60. In the event she wanders north in search of a rabbit or squirrel, she’ll probably be giving the freeway plenty of clearance.