An injured red-tailed hawk believed to have been shot with a nail gun will hopefully be rid of its headache soon — now that it is on its way to a veterinary hospital.
After almost a week of searching for the injured bird in Golden Gate Park, rescuers captured the juvenile hawk about 5 p.m. Saturday and planned to bring him to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley in San Jose, said Rebecca Dmytryk, director of WildRescue, the volunteer group that found the bird.
“It’s always frustrating when we can’t capture an animal that needs help, but it’s that perseverance — not jumping the gun and not doing anything reckless — that proved successful,” she said.
The hawk appears weak, but Dmytryk said she is hopeful it will recover now that they are able to get it medical attention.
WildRescue began searching for the hawk Oct. 17, a task complicated by a nail that extended from the bird’s cheek through the front of its head. Rescuers had to use baited traps instead of nets, which they feared would tangle in the nail and cause more harm to the bird.
As WildRescue’s search gained publicity, the group received messages and calls from park patrons reporting when and where they had seen the hawk, Dmytryk said.
Those tips led the group the Botanical Garden, where they heard the hawk had been visiting in the afternoon.
Saturday, Dmytryk and her team arrived at the Botanical Garden about 3:30 p.m., with news that the hawk was in sight.
Passers-by stopped to help the group track the hawk. When rescuers were finally able to lure the bird into their trap, the group of park patrons who had gathered around the commotion cheered, Dmytryk said.
“It’s really encouraging so many people were concerned,” she said.
The public’s help is especially heartwarming because rescuers suspect someone intentionally harmed the hawk with a nail gun, Dmytryk said.
Red-tailed hawks are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and injuring one is punishable by up to six months prison and $15,000 fine.
WildRescue is offering a $10,000 reward, provided by private donors, to anyone with information that leads to an arrest in the incident. Call (831) 429-2323 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.