Cooper’s Hawk (Case History #2)

Fledgling Cooper’s Hawk reunited with parents after being treated for minor injuries

A fledgling Cooper’s hawk received minor injuries from being hit by a car just after fledging. The accident occurred in a wooded area near Pell City, in St. Clair County, Alabama.  This was a bird that had the ability to fly, but its incomplete feather development indicated clearly that the bird was still in the early stages of fledging, when it would still be completely dependent on its parents for food. The bird was treated for a few days and then returned to the wooded area adjacent to the site of the accident, where a tape of its alarm call was played. Visual contact with  an adult Cooper’s hawk was established within a few minutes, and the fledgling was released to the custody of its parent.

The recorded calls are especially helpful in this kind of situation.  Otherwise you are faced with releasing an inexperienced fledgling that has already been somewhat compromised by an injury, and is not yet experienced enough as a hunter to survive without the assistance of its parents. At the Wildlife Center, birds in this category used to be kept in a flight cage for several weeks so they could be given live prey training before release.  It is obviously much better to return the fledglings to the care of their own parents.  The recorded calls help make contact with the adult birds and thus ensure a successful reunion.

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