Broad-Winged Hawk (Case #3)

Brancher Broad-winged Hawk with two older siblings returned to nest tree after being found on the ground.

Bird became grounded again and died a day later. A brancher Broad-winged Hawk was brought to the Alabama Wildlife Center on the evening of June 20, 2006, after being observed on the ground in a front yard in Crestline, a suburb of Birmingham.  When first observed, the bird appeared to be active and energetic, and was moving around the yard, and even crossing the street, only to return to the yard a short time later. The bird appeared to be perfectly healthy, with its admission weight being 274 g.  I went to scout the situation the next morning, and immediately spotted the nest in a tree adjacent to the driveway, about 100 feet up.  Two other branchers were visible near the nest, but no juveniles were seen in the nest.  The branchers still in the nest tree appeared to be older than the grounded juvenile, based on feather development. The downed juvenile was placed in a nest basket in a flight cage, but immediately hopped to a nearby branch and perched well. On June 23, Raptor Intern Jessie Leonard and tree-climber Dave McClain took the brancher back to the nest site.  The bird had been offered a whole animal diet of chopped, adult mice, and had been eating well.  Its weight was recorded as 318 g. Dave placed the brancher on a substantial branch just below the nest. Adjacent branches offered the juvenile easy access to climb up to the nest itself. Both adult birds were observed in the immediate area, and one adult landed on the branch next to the juvenile.   The other two juveniles were moving back and forth among the trees, making short flights.  The following day, June 24, the homeowner called to report that the juvenile was vocalizing continuously, indicating to us that it was not getting enough to eat.  Unfortunately, David McClain was not available that day to retrieve the bird, and it was only when the bird was found on the ground again later on the 24th that Jessie was able to come to its assistance.  The bird was alert, but it was clearly much weaker and less active than when originally examined. Although given supportive care, the juvenile died the following day. At that time its weight was 316 g.   Presumably, the younger bird was unable to compete for food with the older, flighted juveniles.

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