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Emergency Landing!!

It was the eve before April Fool’s Day and although this hard-to-believe-story may seem like a joke, it really happened this way.

Manny Rodriguez works in construction and was on his way home from a job in the late afternoon when, at the intersection of  the 134 and the 101 freeways, he saw her. Having fallen out of the sky, for some yet to be determined reason, she was running across the lanes of the freeway!

He had to do something.

Right off he knew that it was some kind of hawk, and that she was hurt and was soon to be killed in traffic if he didn’t take action. He stopped his vehicle and jumped from the car, managing to halt all cars that were in her path.  He had a painting tarp in the back of his truck. He put the tarp over the bird (in the middle of traffic!) and scooped her up to safety.  He made it too—thank goodness.

Once back at home he placed the hawk in a small cage and saw that she had been bleeding in the chest area. Not good.

So—you’ve rescued a red-tailed hawk. Now whaddya do?  It’s after hours for any wildlife center to be open and receiving animals, but you call them all anyway. 

When I got the call here at Wildworks, I too hesitated. I’m not a veterinarian, and I don’t have pro bono vet services available. The problem is…. I absolutely love Red-Tailed Hawks. I guess that’s not really a problem—more of a solution. 

“Manny—if you can you meet me down at the end of my street I’ll take the bird and keep her warm and hydrated for the night. Then we’ll see from there.”

When I saw her I didn’t have much hope. She was lying flat, and although she seemed mentally responsive, she was super weak. I transferred her to an airline kennel, gave her subcutaneous fluids, pain medication and a heating pad, then left her in peace for the night.

First thing in the morning I called the vet, and they were able to fit us in at Calabasas Animal Clinic. Dr Gary Latos has been our wild animal veterinarian for many years, and thank goodness he was available that day.  She had a punctured esophagus.

I learned from Dr Latos that if this happens to a dog, it’s a death sentence, but because birds have a longer esophagus it’s at least worth trying to repair the injury. An x-ray confirmed that nothing else was going on, so he stitched her up.

When I picked her up at 4 pm, she was still a dope-head from the anesthesia. She had been tube fed and given fluids, and when examined Dr Latos said she wasn’t especially thin which is often the case with a wild young hawk, so her injury had to have been recent.

The next morning, I chopped up soaked mice, (gross) and restraining the now very strong lady hawk, I teased her with tweezers until she opened her mouth and swallowed.  I administered fluids and released her into a new clean enclosure and left her alone. Repeat treatment in PM.

I named her Tomahawk ( short for Thomasina hawk) and we’ll keep on trying to save her because at Wildworks we feel that every life deserves a fair chance.

We’ll keep you posted but in the meantime …..Keep your talons crossed and keep checking back for more updates!

We need your help!

Her surgery plus medication totaled


In addition, we have to feed her a mouse 4 times a day, and at 75 cents a mouse, that means $3.00 a day, which adds up fast!

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