THE HOWARD AVENUE RED TAILED HAWK

On June 11th, Chrissy Dormer and her sister Jacqueline rushed a baby Red Tailed Hawk to Red Creek. Found "helpless in the street" on Howard Avenue in Pottsville, this two week old raptor was covered with maggots. Infected burns were found on her left leg and chest. She was weak and lethargic. 

The matted feathers on the leg in the first photograph are actually active maggots invading the skin under the down.

Peggy and  Lori went to work right away cleaning wounds, removing the maggots and administering fluids. Once hydrated, the hawk was placed on antibiotics to fight the infection.

Within hours this baby hawk became the talk of Facebook. 

Jacquie, a photojournalist for the Republican-Herald Newspaper, posted pictures of the hawk's arrival at Red Creek. Comments, shares and prayers accumulated online while we worked fervently to save the little girl's life.

By the very next day the young bird was visibly stronger. She started eagerly eating and began her journey to becoming a healthy, strong "Bird of Prey."

June 23rd, having completely healed and finished the treatment of antibiotics, the baby Red Tail was placed out in the flight pen. There she joined two adult and three juvenile hawks who would serve as a foster family for the baby. One of the adult hawks is a very aged female Red Tail that can no longer fly.  Having a permanently injured wing from a collision with a car, "Old Mama" now serves as a Red Creek foster mother.

By August 1st the baby Red Tail wasn't a baby any more. Now fully feathered and gaining experience at hunting and flight, the bird waited for her time of freedom. On August 22nd, Jacquie Dormer returned with her camera and photographed the release.

It was a perfect day with blue skies and a light breeze as the hawk gently flew up into the trees. She, along with the three foster siblings released that day, remained at Red Creek for several weeks while honing hunting and soaring skills that would ensure her survival.

 As I reviewed the photographs for this article, I noticed something: this hawk had a look of wild determination and ferocity when she arrived, and it never left her face. From the moment she came in, until her release date, that look mirrored her attitude.  Perhaps that is why she healed so quickly and thrived so well... or maybe it was all the prayers from her Facebook followers.