SB Wildlife Care Network’s Patient of the Week: Red-Tailed Hawk with Broken Wings

Source: Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network

Patient #4295: Red-tailed hawk
Status: Still in care

On October 27, a large, female red-tailed hawk was brought to the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network with two broken wings. 

Photo: x-ray taken of red-tailed hawk before surgery (esophageal EKG placed to monitor heart rate while anesthetized)


Wildlife veterinarian Dr. Avery Berkowitz discovered that the bird had two fractured ulnas. The fractures were around a week old –– if the hawk hadn’t been rescued, she would not have made it much longer. She quickly demonstrated her strong will; she ate well (a GREAT sign) in the days following her arrival. The hawk also ripped off her stabilizing bandages within an hour of them being put on, but Dr. Berkowitz was ready with a backup plan. They pinned the ulnas with more pins than normal to provide extra stabilization, so she would not need a bandage wrap. 

Photo: x-ray showing pin placement in wings 


After 3 weeks and many meals, her wings were looking good. Dr. Berkowitz removed the pins. A short while later, she was ready for flight practice in a small flight enclosure. She proved herself to be a strong flyer, so she was moved to our mid-size flight enclosure. 

Photo: x-ray showing healed ulnas with healthy bony callus around fracture sites


Now, she spends her days flying around confidently. Wildlife personnel hope to move her to the largest flight enclosure in around a week. If her progress continues, she will be ready for release back to Santa Maria within a few weeks!

This hawk’s second chance is only possible with lots of healthy meals, medication, and expert care. You can help provide some meals for her by giving to the Raptor Food Fund:

Watch her practice flying:


Written by SBWCN

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