The shopping Cooper's Hawk, a Rescue Story #02022018

On Friday, February 2, 2018 volunteer Ann Zepke was sent to rescue a hawk.

I was told that the hawk was at the Target store on Stellhorn Road in Fort Wayne. It had been sitting on a shopping cart for three hours and had not moved in all that time.

When I arrived at the store, I checked all the carts in the parking lot. Then I spotted the hawk perched on a long line of carts that were lined up across the front of the store. It was a small hawk and I identified it as a Cooper’s Hawk. As I moved closer, I could see that the left eye was injured. It was so matted, I couldn’t see the eye at all and I was afraid that it may have been punctured and was actually missing.

I solicited help from a woman who was walking nearby. I had her hold up a blanket in front of the hawk so that its attention was on her.  Knowing the left eye was blind, I was able to get behind the bird and come up the left side to grab the legs. The plan was executed flawlessly. My helper followed me to my car and helped get the carrier out of my trunk. She opened the carrier and I was able to put the bird in and get it secured.

My final stop was at the ICU clinic where Kat, our Veterinary Assistant, did the intake and a preliminary exam. She gently cleaned the matting off the injured eye and discovered the eye was intact. The eyelid wouldn’t close because of all the matted blood around the eye and she worked quite a while to remove as much as she could. We tried to determine if the bird could see out of the injured eye. For the most part, the hawk didn’t respond to a hand waving in front of the eye. However, at times it seemed that there was a small response. Kat told me that the bird would get medication for two weeks to bring down the inflammation and another assessment would be made after that. With luck and time, it may regain its eyesight. That is our hope.

The exam continued with the wings. No broken bones were detected although there was some matted blood on one elbow. The tail, legs and feet were fine. Then we discovered matted blood on its back. After cleaning the area, however, no wound was found. How all that blood got there is a mystery.

Cooper’s Hawks are known to be high strung, active and vocal. This little bird had spunk, but while Kat was working very carefully around the eye, it was very, very still as though it knew she was helping him and cooperation was needed. Or, am I reading too much into this? Well, I’d like to believe that the bird appreciated the help.