Durham County

Durham police rescue bird of prey. Rehab team has high hopes it will take wing again.

An injured red-shouldered hawk undergoes treatment for injured talons at CLAWS, the wild animal rehabilitation center in Chapel Hill
An injured red-shouldered hawk undergoes treatment for injured talons at CLAWS, the wild animal rehabilitation center in Chapel Hill CLAWS, Inc.

An injured red-shouldered hawk that Durham police officers rescued is well on its way to recovery.

But it will take a while, according to wild animal expert Kindra Mammone, who is the director of CLAWS, Inc., a non-profit wild animal rehabilitation center in Chapel Hill where the hawk is being treated.

“Poor, guy,” Mammone said. “He’s been through a lot. Who knows how much of a struggle he went through.”

The young male hawk, which was extricated Sunday from a razor-wire fence on Hillsborough Road by officers J.E. Harris and D.A. Monroe,

A volunteer at the rehab center said on Wednesday that the bird came to the facility with injuries to its feet. It received medical treatment and drugs and was able to stand on its own by Tuesday, according to the Mammone.

“It came in with more extensive injuries that we thought from seeing the first pictures,” Mammone said. “With injuries to the talons, we don’t know if this bird will ever be released back into the wild.”

Mammone said it could take at least four months for the bird to recover. It then will have to go through a number of tests, including flight and hunting tests before it can be released. She estimated that the hawk was at least a year old.

“It’s a small hawk but after a year it is hard to tell how old a red-shouldered hawk is,” Mammone said. “It has talons missing so we have to make sure he can still hunt before he can be released.”

The hawk’s plight began on Sunday when a Durham city employee called 911 to report the trapped bird.

When police arrived, they found the bird snagged in the fence with its wing trapped. It was hanging by the tip of its wing and struggling to free itself, according to the Durham Police Department’s Facebook page.

Harris approached the bird and restrained it with his cold weather police jacket. Monroe freed its wing from the razor wire. The bird was first taken to the Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital on Morreene Road and from there referred to CLAWS.

“It was awesome to see so many people come together to rescue this injured hawk,” the Facebook post said. “We would like to thank Officers Harris and Monroe, Reserve Lt. Villanova, 911 Dispatcher Kendal Martin, the City of Durham employee who called 911 to get help for the bird.”

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews

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