Red-tailed hawk released on DI
A rehabilitated red-tailed hawk is once again soaring the Lowcountry skies after being released by the Center for Birds of Prey (CFBOP) on Daniel Island on June 27.
Daniel Island residents Laurie and Dean Hubbs, supporters of the Center, hosted the release event in the backyard of their Farr Street home. As a small crowd watched from the sidelines, Daniel Prohaska, development officer for CFBOP, removed the hawk from a carrier and set him free. The Hubbs’ property backs up to wetlands and marsh, making it “the perfect spot to get birds back out into the wild,” said Prohaska, who released a barred owl from the same location on December 2.
The newly released red-tailed hawk, a juvenile bird, had been a patient at the CFBOP in Awendaw for more than six months, after being found on the ground with its feathers removed in late 2016 in Summerville.
“It was clearly a traumatic experience,” continued Prohaska. “…We don’t know who was responsible but someone cut the feathers off of this bird. He couldn’t fly because he didn’t have any feathers…All you can do in that situation is wait for the bird to moult.”
The hawk spent the next several months in captivity at the Center, under the watchful eyes of staff as his feathers grew in. The moulting process is critical, explained Prohaska, as feathers become an important part of the blood supply, drawing in the nutrients they need to grow.
“It’s very important as these birds are moulting that those feathers are not broken,” he said. “It is a very cautious time.”
When the hawk was finally released on June 27, it had a “beautiful set of feathers,” added Prohaska. As to whether or not the bird will stick around Daniel Island, Prohaska said he couldn’t be sure.
“We released it on Daniel Island but it was found in Summerville, so he could go back to Summerville. He is very centrally located so he can go off in any direction he chooses. It really depends. If he finds a healthy supply of prey (on Daniel Island) and didn’t run into any other adult red-tailed hawks or predators he might still be there. That’s entirely possible.”
The CFBOP treats between 600 to 700 birds a year. For more information on the Center, visit http://www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.org.