Fieldbrook Hawk Gets Another Chance

During the last week of January, Humboldt Wildlife Care Center received a few calls about a hawk struggling in the wooded community of  Fieldbrook, east of McKinleyville. After a few trips to the area, we finally located the grounded bird, an adult Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), unable to fly.

Emaciated, weak, and with an injured right eye, we began the slow process of recovery with fluids, warmth, nutrition and a safe place to rest. Emaciation is a relatively simple condition to treat. The hawk’s eye however was of greater concern. Although the bird seemed able to see, even with the injury, good eyesight is a necessity for release.

Once the hawk was well enough to be housed outdoors in our specially built raptor aviary (the Merry Maloney Raptor House), we introduced live prey in the form of purchased “feeder” rodents. None of us enjoy putting these animals directly in the path of a hawk, but to release this bird we needed to know that he could hunt.

Soon the hawk was flying with ease and grace, navigating the confines of the aviary and clearly responding to stimuli with his injured but healing eye.

Also the hawk was clearly able to hunt. With a break in the rain, we returned him to his haunts, his habits and his wild freedom.

Thinking outside the box, outside the box, must get outside the box!

Healthy and ready to rock!

One more step!

And up and away!

Upper left corner is where you’ll find him…

Circling back and then gone… free again!

This Red-tailed hawk’s second chance relied on many factors: caring people who called to let us know he was there, volunteers ready and able to go look for him, a team of caregivers with the necessary resources to help him heal, and most importantly, you. Without your support, those caring people would’ve had no one to call. This hawk is in the Redwoods of Humboldt County, hunting, flying, dreaming, preparing for another year, another chance to raise more young, another day to be alive, free and wild. Your support is how and why. Thank you!

All photos: Bird Ally X

Providing Critical Education for our Volunteers and Staff

While the most significant part of our mission is the direct care of injured and orphaned wild animals, Bird Ally X also puts effort into training wildlife rehabilitators and future wildlife rehabilitators. During the winter months, as our caseload decreases, we often hold workshops on different aspects of the care we provide our wild neighbors in need. Last weekend we presented a new workshop for our volunteers titled, “How Do Pools Even Work? Providing Critical Housing for Aquatic Patients”.


Discussing our Duckling Pond, used for orphaned Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), and how it can be re-configured for aquatic turtles, such as the Pacific Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata)

Learning how to keep water flowing through our aviary suitable for ducks, geese, Belted Kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon), Herons, Egrets (family Ardeidae)and rails (family Rallidae).

For the untrained eye, rocks and water, for the trained volunteer, each component here is critical to providing good housing for certain species of aquatic birds.

Complex patients require complex solutions. Safely operating an aquatic environment requires skill and knowledge.

Duckweed is food! Duckweed is a filter! And how that helps us in many ways!

Part of operating pools correctly means controlling waste water responsibly! The frog pond that neighbors our facility doesn’t want pool chemistry dumped in it. You can’t be an ally of wild animals without being an ally of habitat.

Pools for Pelicans, Cormorants and Gulls have their own requirements. Here we take a look at how water is recycled for this pool.

A well functioning “bio-filter”…

Keeping the pools clean does require some skills! But we all get the hang of it eventually. Practice makes perfect!

Each pool has its quirks. Here we discuss a small pool and how its principles can be scaled to accommodate different volumes and species.

Wrapping up and answering questions… all in all, a very successful workshop!

Our wildlife hospital in Bayside, California, Humboldt Wildlife Care Center, provides a perfect setting for developing our workshops, trainings and labs – improving available care for wild patients is a critical part of Bird Ally X mission. If you are a permitted wildlife rehabilitator we can bring this workshop to your facility. Contact us though this website for more information. And if you’ve supported our work, thank you! You make it possible! And if you want to help, donate today! Thank you!

(all photos: Laura Corsiglia/BAX)