I often wonder if my life has any meaning, if my being here really makes a difference. This morning I am awakened by the sound of the phone ringing next to my head. My cats are curled up warm next to me. Gus has already left for work. I move the cats out of the way and reach over groggily for the phone. From the caller ID, I see that it is my sister calling me. I answer the phone. I hear her excited voice in my sleepy ear. “Kathie, do you know anyone who can help an injured hawk?" I’m sitting here on the side of Rt. 85 looking at this injured hawk!”
Now, you need to realize that my sister is in Connecticut and I am in Massachusetts. She proceeds to tell me she has been sitting there for 10 to 20 minutes already and the bird has hardly moved. It was on the side of the road at first, but then flew feebly into the lower branches of a hemlock or spruce tree about 2 feet off the ground. My sleepy brain is trying to think as I walk toward the front of the house and turn my computer on. Who to call? Who can help? From previous experience, I know this is not going to be quick or easy. I tell her to call the non-emergency number of the local police or the Department of Fish and game. Meanwhile, I am getting ready to do research on the internet.
Still in my nightgown and with no breakfast, I Google CT Wildlife Rehabbers. I start texting names and numbers to her. She starts calling numbers. Meanwhile, I think of Suzie Gilbert and her book, Flyaway that I did a book review of last year. She is a raptor rehabilitator and also my friend on Facebook, so I go to her page and leave her a message. Finally, I realize I should put this message out on my Facebook wall. Perhaps someone there can help. so, I share a note as my status update.
Meanwhile, MG has now been sitting there for almost an hour with no one answering their phones. She has left messages all over the place but so far no one has called her back. She is still watching the hawk which she describes as looking like a “dirty ball of snow.” I am trying to figure out what hawk this could be and all I can think is that it is a Northern Goshawk.
Help and suggestions start to pour in. Susie Gilbert sends me some info. Dawn Fine offers to Tweet it out. Loralea Kirby sends me a list of rescuers and rehabbers. Then, MG calls me to tell me an off duty CT State Trooper has stopped and offered to help! Later on we learn he is Sergeant Martinez.
MG has now been there for an hour and a half. The officer offers to stay with the bird until someone comes to help.He calls the Department of Environmental Protection. Meanwhile MG has to leave as she drives a school bus and needs to go for her noontime run. There are kindergarteners to pick up and drop off. She stops briefly at home where she gets a call from one rehabber whose name I got off the internet list. This rehabber tells her that she no longer does rescue and rehab because it soon took over her life and she was not able to keep up with the demand. Sadly, she also informs MG that most raptor rehabbers only want to help the rare birds and have no interest in helping the Common Red-tailed hawk! I am shocked to learn this. How great the need must be for Raptor Rehabbers!
When M.G. leaves for her bus run she passes the officer again. He informs her that Todd Selecki of A Place Called Hope is on his way and he will stay until Todd arrives. Later she calls me with an update saying the officer called her and told her that when they tried to capture the hawk it still had enough strength to fly away into the woods and they were unable to capture it. He gave MG Todd’s name and number, which was also one of the numbers I had texted her hours ago. Since she passes this location on a regular basis, she can call Todd if she sees it there again.
So, all of this drama started for me around 9 a.m. By now it is noontime and I am still in my nightgown, still haven’t eaten, still haven’t fed my cats. As I walk away to take care of all of those things I am struck by how many people got involved to try to save one poor hawk on the roadside in Connecticut.
I want to give a huge Shout Out and Thank You to the following people. This incident has taught me numerous things: our lives do matter and I belong to an amazing group of people called birders who have huge hearts and are always willing to help not only a bird, but a friend in need! And, I want to thank my sister, MG also. She did not have to stop and help this bird, but because she loves me and she knows I love the birds, she did. She used her precious time and energy to try to save a wounded hawk. My sister is a runner, and these photos are from The Ghost Run she did last fall on the Airline Trail in Connecticut. While she did not “win” that race, she is certainly a winner in my heart!
Thank You Sergeant Martinez of the CT State Troopers for all of your help! (He stayed with the bird for 2 hours!)
Thank You Fellow Bird Lovers:
Please consider donating to any of these Raptor Rehabilitators. The need is so great! Time, money and supplies are all needed. Go to their websites for more info or Google one in your home state!
And to my dear sister, Keep on running!!!
Note: if there are any updates on this hawk I will post it on my blog and Facebook page! We think it was a Northern Goshawk.
Update: It was not a goshawk. It was a sharp-shinned! Read Update: Hawk Finds Help from a Place Called Hope