June 7, 2009

Official calms addled young hawk

A young hawk having a hard time making its first flight in Philadelphia was rescued by a wildlife expert before it hurt itself, witnesses said.

The red-tailed hawk's misadventure started Saturday morning when it drew a crowd by walking across a street outside the Franklin Institute and taking its perch on a nearby railing. Before long, a couple of dozen people were watching and taking photographs.

That's when things started going badly for the young predator. It flew onto a ground-floor window ledge, and then onto a statue across the street, said observer Kay Meng of Glenolden, Pa.

It was obviously scared to death, she said.

The hawk tried to fly again, only to become caught between a railing and a concrete wall. That's when Rick Schubert of the Schuylkill Center's Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic, who had been called in by institute officials, rushed up, grabbed the bird and cradled it to calm it down.

The bold move inspired applause by those watching.

It was one of the most extraordinary things I've ever seen, said Della Micah, another witness.

Schubert said the bird will be kept at the clinic until it's ready to fly.

We'll continue to monitor it, feed it, and then we'll relocate the animal to a much safer area, he said. Not inside the city.

The young bird was part of a brood that had nested near the institute. Two other hawks had successfully launched their flying careers last week.