Background Switcher (Hidden)

Testing Her Wings: Redtail Update

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Wildlife rehab, and especially avian rehabilitation, is not just bunnies in baby blankets, though rabbits certainly present their own unique challenges. When you're trying to heal a bird, you've got to make darn sure it's going to be flightworthy before you turn it loose.

By November 17, our barbed-wire redtail was eating voraciously and it looked as though her patagium was healing well. But would she be flightworthy? Jesse was worried about her patagium and especially the area around her wrist, which looked "abnormal," in his words.

There would be only one way to tell if she could fly well enough to be released, and that was creance flying. One person holds the bird, and a second person (Dr. Jesse Fallon) holds a long thin line attached to jesses around its legs. An ACCA volunteer releases the bird, and Jesse hauls ass behind her as she flies, like this:

Oh, that's encouraging! Let's try it again.
No good deed goes unpunished. Jesse finds a hole in the field and goes down like a thrown steer. His heartless writer wife Katie giggles. Just kidding. They're both all heart, and dear friends.

 Having recovered his composure and apparently uninjured by his spectacular fall, Jesse explains about barbed wire injuries, and this bird's injuries in particular.

He said it. The R word. Release!! Readying for release! How do you like that, Formerly Doomed Redtail? I like it very much!

At this point, it seems meet to point out that the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia is always grateful for donations to support the free medical assistance they offer to injured and orphaned wildlife. I wanted you to have a glimpse into what they do to ensure the birds are recovering and flight-ready. It's not just bandaging them up and tossing mice into their cage--it's physical rehab, too!

And for anyone wondering about the legality of taking an Ohio hawk to West Virginia for care, I've cleared it with the Ohio Division of Wildlife Permits Officer to have this bird treated in WV, then returned to Ohio for release. Gotta keep that stuff up front and out in the open. I live two hours from the closest wildlife rehab facility with veterinary staff (Ohio Wildlife Center in Columbus). ACCA is almost three hours from here, near Cheat Lake, WV. It's tough for wildlife rehabbers in my part of Ohio, really tough. Any way you cut it, you're going to kill an entire day transporting the creature. I appreciate these two facilities more than I can say, and I sure wish they weren't two and three hours away. 


Yay, redtail.
You go, girl!

Wow! Fantastic videos, I'm glad it seems she will be releasable.

Julie, I've been following this series about the RTH with slack-jawed awe. As you described yourself earlier, you ARE SuperZick--every GD day. (NB: I'm also in the middle of reading Saving Jemima, which only adds to this opinion.) And a loud shout-out as well to all who helped you along the way in the miracle hawk rescue. Finally, love to Phoebe, Oscar, Liam, and of course that complete bundle of wild-ass charm, Curtis Loew.

I'm so glad that she's doing well enough to be released soon! Thank you for the updates on her; it's nice to read pleasant news for a change.

Posted by mimimanderly December 5, 2019 at 3:44 AM

Soooo coool!!! I was fascinated by how calm she looked being held in that last video.

[Back to Top]