What to Do with an Injured Kestrel
Mrs. WC doesn’t do bird rehabilitation. She is licensed to keep two owls for educational purposes. But that doesn’t stop folks from calling from time to time reporting an injured bird. Wednesday night it was the Airport Police, who called to tell her that there was an injured “hawk” at the west end of the runway, and that if it went out on the active airway it would have to be “dispatched.” It’s not smart to be a raptor and hang out at airports.
So we loaded up the truck with the big kennel, a net, a couple of blankets, leather gloves and drove out to the end of the west ramp. The bird was at the entrance to Trailbreaker Kennel, with perhaps a few more security folks on hand than the situation required. And the “hawk” turned out to be an adult male American Kestrel, the smallest North American falcon.
WC distracted him with a blanket, and Mrs. WC grabbed him. It took maybe 15 seconds. Please, don’t try this yourself. You can get hurt and, more importantly to WC, you can hurt the bird.
There were no obvious signs of injury, but he couldn’t fly. He’d been on the ground for a while; there was wear on the end of his otherwise handsome tail, and his stomach was dirty. He was stressed and showed signs of undernourishment. The best guess would be that he was struck by a car or a plane a few days ago.
WC will try to monitor treatment and let readers know how he does.
So what did you do last night?