Hawk rescued with metal trap on foot recovering in Tucson

Hawk rescued with metal trap on foot recovering in Tucson
Injured Harris's Hawk
Trap caught on a hawk's foot for several days. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Trap caught on a hawk's foot for several days. (Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It's a tough task just to take him out of his temporary cage, with the frenetic feathers and tough talons, but an injured hawk is in the care of the Tucson Wildlife Center after being rescued from a trap Monday morning.

The Tucson Wildlife Center put out a public notice over the weekend that animal rescue teams were searching for two hawks reportedly seen flying with traps attached to their legs.

TWC Animal Care Supervisor Lou Rae Whitehead knew it was something they had to step in and fix.

"He couldn't live with that trap on his leg. It was a man-caused problem," Whitehead said. "After seeing the way he was flying - he could fly into the trees, but the bird wasn't going to be able to eat."

It was a man-caused effort to find him, too.

The Harris's Hawk was discovered in Janet Williams' neighborhood in Vail, after the Tucson Wildlife Center got the word out about the injury.

It's an area where Williams and her neighbors see countless wild animals roaming the roads. They were the eyes for rescuers.

"They were getting concerned about him, too. A lot of people around there were helping us try to find this bird," Whitehead explained.

"What was going through my mind was why is somebody using a trap like this? It's heartbreaking," Williams said. "Most of us that live here, we watch them and take a lot of pleasure in them. So seeing them in a bad fix like that is very sad."

The metal trap clasped on the young bird's foot weighs about 370 grams. Whitehead said the bird only weighs about 780 grams and had likely lost weight over the last few days, meaning this young Harris's Hawk was carrying around nearly half its body weight since at least Friday, March 30.

He's now on the mend. It's a process that may take several days in Whitehead's care at the Tucson Wildlife Center.

"We're going to give him a chance and if he can't fly, or can't use his foot, then we'll try to get him in sanctuary. He'll be cared for forever," she said.

The bandage surrounding his foot will stay there until he can grasp his prey once again. Staff checks on him multiple times per day at the 13275 East Speedway Boulevard facility.

"Knowing now, that we can help him, he's actually a lucky bird. It could've been worse. It could've been his whole leg," Whitehead said.

She has plans to get the hawk back on his feet and back soaring in his wild home close to East Garigan's Gulch, Williams' street in Vail and the bird's temporary namesake, where he will be released.

"I hope that I can look up there and see his speckled chest and go, 'Oh! Garigan's back,'" Williams said with a smile.

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