Thursday, October 8, 2009

Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield

Hey ya’ll,

Yesterday, a lady called to report seeing a hawk on a power line that had an orange arrow sticking through it. Obviously, it was still quite ambulatory because I was on site within 10 minutes and it was no longer there. I looked up and saw the mate circling overhead and from a distance it looked like I saw the hawk flying low over a distant pasture. I went to the closest house and gave the lady my card to please call if she should see it. I came home and Don went back out to help me but to no avail. It kills me that the bird is suffering and probably full of maggots by now and dying an agonizing death. Just dammit, that I can’t help them all. I failed this one.

“Chris”, the Barred owl that collided with a motor vehicle last week makes an incredible recovery!

If it weren't for the Good Samaritan, I wouldn't have any birds to care for, so I like to give them the option of having a hand in the release since they went to all the trouble to scoop the bird off the road in the first place and risk becoming road-kill themselves. A big HawkTalk thanks goes out to Chris for providing assistance to this Barred owl.

This was a ‘hard’ release back into his familiar territory. You do this when the bird is mature because he has a territory established and a mate wondering where the heck he got off to. It infuriates me to see frightened birds tossed up in the air before a bunch of noisy onlookers. It makes the people witnessing the release feel all warm and fuzzy, but it does nothing good for the bird. For some of the birds who were GPS’d before their release flew full bore until they dropped dead because of all the stress hormones released into the system upon release. I call these sacrificial releases in order to keep up public interest and those cases should be left for high profile USFWS or DNR people; they need the publicity…me, I just need Mouse Money. I confine my hard releases to the GS and their immediate family members. You’ll notice Chris’ children are quiet as church mice. I imagine they received ‘the talk’ before they got out of the car. Thanks again, Chris!

Click here for the video of the release. Don’t bother with the popcorn because it won’t last that long. I needed to edit the end of it because when I used the digital zoom, it got grainy real fast. Stephen Speilberg’s job is safe for today. But when I finally figure out the edit feature, WATCH OUT! I’ll be Robert Redford’s houseguest at Sundance before you know it.¤t=BarredOwlRelease100809Chris.flv

Now, go forth and make babies!


You might recall the saga of “Georgia” the maggot-filled Red-shouldered hawk that the nice Ga. Power people got to me last year? Well, Bob B. called Tuesday to say there was an injured hawk near their Whitesburg plant and blasted off down there to recover it for me. Unfortunately by the time he got there, the bird had already died. This is what a 2nd year Peregrine falcon (prob. Tundra) looks like. Even in death, they are a sight to behold. The dark vertical stripe below their eye is to reduce glare and is a firm field mark. The fastest creature in the world being clocked ‘stooping’ at speeds of over 200 miles an hour. They don’t actually fly that fast, what they do is, they go high, wait on, pick their target, fold their wings in and let gravity do the rest. They rarely even have to use their feet for the kill because body slamming the bird usually does the trick. Just in case the bird wasn’t killed on impact, the falcon binds to it mid-air, rides it to the ground and with the notch in the upper beak, breaks the cervical spine and has lunch. Ta da…!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog….m.

Monteen McCord
POB 130
Holly Springs, GA 30142


At October 9, 2009 at 9:56 AM , Blogger Gaina said...

I'm glad you had at least one happy moment this week with 'Chris'. Congratulations :).

I know it's not realistic to think you're going to see the injured bird again, so I just hope it doesn't suffer too much. Maybe a quick death at the hands of another predator is the best we can hope for. I really hate humans sometimes :(.


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