Sunday, January 6, 2008

FOY Raptor Rescue

My car list is now at 5 species! Some folks keep LIFE lists, COUNTY lists, YARD lists and OFFICE lists. Me? I like the car! Add them up... PEREGRINE FALCON, BLUE JAY, COMMON NIGHTHAWK, RED TAILED HAWK and now, RED SHOULDERED HAWK! (I don't count the SONG SPARROW that flew into the bedroom last spring.) This adventure-filled Sunday afternoon all started when...

Shannon & Sherman Wright, along with some of their fine neighbors (Karlie and Jerry Everett & Doug Young) in Eastport and I rescued a RED SHOULDERED HAWK from the mud of Back Creek. As per the usual, Bill and Gail from the Wild Bird Center in West Annapolis notified me of yet another bird in peril in the Annapolis area. After calling the homeowner, I rushed to the scene to find the hawk stuck deep in some of the murkiest mud I've ever seen. Shannon mentioned that some local AMERICAN CROWS were hounding the trapped raptor earlier in the morning.The mud looked almost like dry land. So I tested it out to see if it could hold any weight. Just putting my boot on it made my shoe sink into it up to my ankles! It was some truly disgusting stuff.After a quick evaluation of how to best reach this stranded raptor, we decided to use Doug Young's kayak. It seemed safer than the alternative... jumping into quicksand. Doug and I lowered his kayak from the pier onto the mud. I gently worked my way over to the bird hoping I wouldn't wind up like the hawk!I used an oar like I was a gondolier cruising through Vienna (Italy, not Virginia). I would wind up visiting Virginia (Falls Church) later!A few minutes later, I managed to navigate the boat though the mud and safely and pulled the hawk out of the muck. Once on dry land, I made a quick call to Kent at the Virginia Raptor Conservancy. Soon after that conversation, the bird and I were on our way to Northern Virginia.Special thanks go out to the wonderful folks who helped out with this bird's rescue. Without our intervention, it certainly would have perished in the mud and water when the tide returned! I'll keep you posted on it's recovery and release. And my clothes are on their second trip through the washer. That mud is ALMOST out of my pants and shirt.PS: Kent told me that the RED TAILED HAWK that Emery and I rescued last month is recovering well and should be released in the near future!

Just for fun, enjoy a photo of Declan. He loves saving raptors too.All the best,


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