It was 21° yesterday morning and the ground was icy when I looked out the kitchen window upon waking. The last several days have been windy, snowy and rainy – horrible weather. Next to the back deck was a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) lying on the ground. What to do as the hawk was alive, but obviously very weak.
Leonard, a veterinarian, checked the hawk in place and determined that there were no gross external injuries. I had chicken thawing for lunch so Leonard force fed the hawk a few small pieces of chicken and then we left it with more food within reach. Our hope was that it would eat a little and regain some strength. With luck it was not suffering from internal injuries, disease or parasites.
I watched from the kitchen window for at least an hour as the hawk remained fairly inactive and did not appear particularly interested in the food. Leonard and I both had to get on with our day, however, I kept occasionally checking on the red-tail but never saw it eat. Eventually I noticed the hawk and all the food were gone. I searched a wide area looking for the hawk on the ground but could not find it.
I do not know if the red-tailed hawk actually survived or not. I would like to think so. Still I will wonder each time a red-tail sits in the cottonwoods near the house if it is there because of a few well-timed chicken bits.