Stunned Red-tailed Hawk

Stunned Red-tailed Hawk

Recently along Cassel Road (Shasta County CA) Leonard and I noticed a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) lying along the shoulder. The hawk was alive, but appeared to have been hit by a vehicle. We drove down the road, turned around and returned to check on the hawk. As we approached on the opposite side of the road, the hawk flew across the road and into a nearby tree – rather wobbly but it did not appear to have a broken wing. There was a perfect place to pull off the road and watch the injured hawk.

The hawk sat immobile in the tree with its wings partially spread for over 15 minutes. Finally the hawk slowly began to close its wings. Eventually Leonard and I continued on our way assuming that the hawk was only stunned and would eventually recover.

Several hours later we returned to find the red-tailed hawk no longer in the tree. Leonard and I search all the nearby trees and the area around the tree where the hawk was recovering. The hawk was not to be found. Our assumption is that the red-tail eventually regained his equilibrium and recovered without intervention.

A happy ending, unlike so many others, to a story of an injured hawk.




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2 Responses to Stunned Red-tailed Hawk

  1. Jim Gordon says:

    Very lucky hawk, maybe picking up road kills; an activity I have never heard. Bald eagles will actively search for road kill deer (winter ranges) and are thus placed in a very hazardous situation. Do not recall numbers, but recall a number were inured/killed along the highway near the Inspection Station.


    • gingkochris says:

      I should have mentioned in my post that there was a freshly-killed grey squirrel on the road where we saw the stunned hawk. The hawk probably was hit trying to retrieve the squirrel. Red tailed hawks will eat carrion. I have pictures of them doing so.


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