09042017 Red-tailed hawk - 1
Via volunteer Mary:
I received a call early this morning from the rescue coordinator. A homeowner was talking his property and happened upon a hawk in distress. I took the information and contacted the homeowner directly. I arrived at their house approximately 45 minutes after we received the initial call. He, his wife, and I all got on a golf cart and headed out into their woods. He told me that he had been walking his dog earlier this morning when they happened upon a hawk about four feet off the ground with his leg stuck in the split of a very small tree. He told me that he normally doesn’t take this particular path in his woods, so it was as if his discovery of this bird was meant to be!
When we arrived, I found a mature red-tailed hawk hanging upside down by his left ankle which was very much wedged in the split of a branch. I put on my talon gloves to contain the bird while the homeowner used loppers and a saw to cut away as much of this branch as possible. They were then able to break by hand the part of the branch that was trapping the ankle. We are not sure how long he had been hanging upside down, but from the look of him and the wound, he had been there since the morning. It was very fortunate that we found him when we did; otherwise, he probably wouldn’t have survived.
He was placed in a rescue box and taken to Dr. Funnell for an examination. It appeared that nothing was broken in the leg or ankle. He was given a dose of an anti-inflammatory/pain reliever by mouth and was dusted for flat flies and feather mites as a precaution. Dr. Funnell then applied raw honey to the laceration on the ankle; raw honey has amazing natural healing properties! He will be transferred to a trained rehabber where he can rest. His condition at this point is guarded until we can determine if there is any nerve damage to the foot and talons.
The homeowners were so grateful that we came to rescue this bird that they made a generous donation to help with the cost of care, and for that we are very thankful!
Initial exam by our avian veterinarian: This red-tailed hawk was bright and alert. His only injury was on the leg that was caught in the tree. On the front or anterior aspect of his lower leg, where there are scales, the tissue was black. This indicates the tissue is dead. He also had little movement in his foot. Treatment plan includes a pain reliever/anti-inflammatory, antibiotics and a bandage with unpasteurized honey on it. Honey keeps tissues moist as dried out tissues don't heal and it also has some antimicrobial properties. His prognosis is guarded as we don't know how deep the tissue is damaged nor do we know if there is permanent nerve damage to the foot.
11/11/2017 - This bird continues to improve every week. A healthy scab has formed where the deep wound on the left leg was. New Skin, which is an invisible skin protectant, is applied weekly.
We will be switching to applying sterile honey. There is no redness or bruising where the wound is.