Letter to Editor, St. Helena Star
June 1, 2015
A few weeks ago, on a cool morning in Deer Park, a text came in from my neighbor, Lauren. “Can you come down here? A huge baby bird fell out of our tree. It is still alive and breathing.” I walked over to meet Lauren in her back yard and found the baby bird with its grey downy feathers laying face down in the duff. With some experience, I knew this bird was in trouble if not warmed up fast. Holding it close to my chest, in my warm hands, I stepped into the sun. After about 30 minutes, the big bundle of fluff began to chirp and flap a bit. A glimmer of hope began to shine on our faces like the warm sunlight through the trees. This bird was maybe a few weeks old, but one thing was for certain it was no songbird. Amid all the fluff, it had fully developed talons and beak. It had a hint of red coloration on its shoulder feathers. Guessing that this, most likely, is a Red-shouldered hawk.
“Now what?” we both asked. After consulting with my husband, who educated me to the fact that it is against the law to keep a bird of prey, Lauren started looking for a rescue center on line. Next step: a call to the Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County(WRCNC) Erin Erickson took the call and was at the scene within the hour. She took the hawk to their Song Bird Clinic for feeding, hydrating, and evaluation. Later that morning,
Carol Poole, from the Wildlife Rescue Center, gave me a call. “The hawk chick is doing fine,” she said. She would like to come back over to Lauren’s tree with an arborist and put the bird back in its nest. As Carol explained, not with all birds but with hawks, it is crucial that the baby bird gets reunited with its parent(s) as soon as possible.
That same afternoon, Carol arrived with the hawk in tow, along with Lee from Pacific Tree Care. Lee climbed up the fir tree 80 feet to the nest (quite impressive). Down on the ground, Carol was preparing the cushiony transport bag, in anticipation of the hawk’s journey back up to its nest. Our hearts fell once Lee announced that the nest had partially fallen and was in complete disorder. Our hearts melted when Lee discovered that there was yet another hawk chick clinging to what little nest still held. Carol sent up the cozy bird transport on the rope. Lee placed hawk chick #2 in and lowered it down. Happy to see hawk chick #2 was actually larger than its sibling and in pretty good shape, Carole reunited the chicks and took both of them back to the Wildlife Rescue’s Song Bird Clinic for evaluation and care.
Carol Poole 6/5/2015 6:14 PM
Day two: Carol called. She said a new nest has been made using a very large
wicker laundry-style basket with fir branches woven in. They wanted to come by with the
hawk chicks and place them in the basket once the new “nest” was positioned and
secured. Carol, Erin, John & John, arrived from Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa Valley. Lee & Brian arrived from Pacific Tree Care. Plus a few other neighbors joined us who had a view of the nest from their porch.
Lee and Brian climbed the fir tree. They secured the new “nest” where the other had failed, using some of its contents to finish it off. The hawk chicks were carefully hoisted up and placed in their new home. Now what? Wait! Hope that the parent(s) come back and start feeding them again.
Day Three: By mid morning, I contacted our neighbors. No sign of the parent(s). I called
Carol and told her the sad news. Next thing I know, I get a call from the same neighbor
telling me he has now seen one of the parents at the nest. I called Carol again, this time my voice was cracking as I fought off the tears that were welling up. “A parent has been
sighted”’ I said. Together we celebrated on the phone. Neighbor Lauren, where this story
began, got the good news too. She told me that she found a window upstairs in her home
where she could see the nest and parent(s) coming and going. Now what? Watch and marvel at what is again possible for these hawk chicks.
Carol Poole 6/5/2015 6:17 PM
I wanted to share this story, to recount a miracle. I never knew we had a Wildlife Rescue
Center in the Napa Valley, did you? Now I want to yell it from the tree tops and let our
community know all about them. It touched Lauren and I so deeply to watch the kind
hearted, dedicated volunteers from this non-profit go to such lengths for wildlife in need of help!
With much gratitude,
The Red-shoulder hawk chicks are thriving. All seem to have adjusted to their new nest.
It was a happy new beginning for the little owl last night. Carol and her husband came to Oakville. Carol carefully placed him up in the tree, even leaving him a mouse for dinner. She thought once dark, he would fledge and fly away. It was adorable. Because it was getting dark and the owl is so camouflaged with the bark, it was a little hard for photos, but some are attached. I checked this morning and no sign of the owl. It must have flown away to establish a new home.
A special thank you to Carol – for taking the little owl in, making sure it was healthy, eating and able to fly, before returning him to his home.
Katey T. | Vineyard Manager, Napa Valley
Thanks so much for the link. Your Facebook page is great! I just made a donation too, I did not have my check book on me today but I greatly appreciate the work you do.
I hope my little friend is well.