Red-tailed hawks are powerful birds. But the hawk that lay on an examination table in New York City was weak and helpless. Wildlife rehabilitators kept a gentle grip on the bird as they checked the injury above its right eye. They thought the hawk had probably been hit by a car.
"The bird was pretty out of it," says Rita McMahon, cofounder of the Wild Bird Fund (WBF). She helped treat the hawk. Each year, the WBF provides care to about 1,500 sick and injured birds and small mammals in New York City.
Many times, birds get hurt when they fly into tall buildings. At the WBF, the animals get an exam, X-rays, blood tests and medicine, if needed. Extra help is provided by two nearby animal hospitals.
Patients at the WBF have included geese, ducks, swans and hummingbirds. But the WBF sees pigeons most often. There are lots of these birds in New York.
On a TFK visit to the WBF, we saw a volunteer washing a pigeon. Its feathers were coated with cooking oil. That's a common problem, McMahon explained, caused by pigeons' fondness for food scraps. "A lot of birds like to live under hot-dog carts," she said. "They come in very fat—and very greasy."
As for the red-tailed hawk, McMahon says it is expected to make a full recovery.
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