A Reunite to Remember!
All reunites and releases are charged with energy. It is the brass ring at the end of every successful rescue and rehabilitation. But a recent one up Soda Canyon Road took it to a new level.
The story starts with a baby Red Tailed Hawk found at the base of a tall eucalyptus tree. The infant appeared in fairly good shape, and went directly into rehab to get it hydrated and build its strength. It looked to be a good candidate for a reunite, which is particularly important for raptors. They rely on their parents to teach them flying and hunting skills. Problem was, we couldn’t spot the nest. So for 3 days folks took shifts trying to see the parents flying to it. For a while, we thought they might have moved on, but a resident on the site continued to report hawk activity in the tree.
Finally on the 3rd day with the help of the resident, one of our team was able to locate the nest, which was so well camouflaged that it could only be seen from one elevated point, measuring a couple of feet across. Standing exactly there, he was able to take photographs. So now we not only knew where the nest was, but also that there was a sibling in it, and an adult was guarding it.
Since the nest site was about 70 feet up in the thickest part of the canopy, we called our friends at Pacific Tree Service and asked for help. They dispatched Lee, a volunteer climber, with a buddy and a bucket truck to help with the reunite. Lee started up in the bucket, and then switched to rope to free climb the final distance. Typically, that type of activity will prompt adults to fly from the nest, but not this time. The adult, probably to protect the second baby, wasn’t going anywhere, and became increasingly agitated at Lee’s approach. For 20 minutes there was something of a standoff. Lee tried everything he could think of to get her to leave. No one wanted a confrontation. Didn’t work. Finally, Lee made a decision and amazed us by deciding to go for it. He climbed the last few feet and placed the baby on the edge of the nest, within a couple of feet of the upset mother. Then he took this quick snapshot and slid back out of sight.
For a few tense seconds the baby and mother stared at each other, as if trying to figure out what was happening. Then the baby jumped in and the family reunited. Lee, hero of the day, was soon back on the ground to a round of applause and lots of hand shaking. (More photos on Facebook)
Sometimes it’s easy
This young barn owl was found struggling on the ground in Rutherford. He was brought into the Song Bird Clinic where he was examined by our new manager Vann. It was determined to be a simple case of dehydration. He was given some fluids and was back to its wild life 2 hours later. Homerun!!