Saturday, June 6, 2009

Miss Piggy's Rescue

Thought a blog would help everyone catch up with today's (June 6) events.

In a nutshell, one of the female nestlings - the consensus is that it was Miss Piggy - left the nest sometime last night and couldn't get herself to a safe place. She was dramatically rescued this afternoon by the amazing Rick Schubert from Schuylkill Center’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic.

She was seen down on Winter Street early this morning, and hopped/climbed her way into a tree. Then she glided down onto some railings right outside the Fels Planetarium main entrance. Passersby were only about four feet from her. She was becoming stressed by all the attention, and flew over to a ground floor window ledge. Her instinct was to try to get up higher and she tried to climb up the glass - not a good idea.

At this point, Gene Mancini from the Franklin Institute realized she was in trouble and wisely called the Wildlife Center. While waiting for Rich Schubert to arrive, Miss Piggy flew low to the ground across Winter Street and landed clumsily on the plinth of a statue alongside the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, near the overpass for the Vine Street Expressway - a really dangerous place for a young hawk with poor flying ability

She was fairly content there but kept looking over to the Franklin, getting into a launch position then pulling back. Throughout this time, the parent hawks were flying in the vicinity, and were perching on nearby buildings and lamp posts.

Rick had a 30 foot net but was hesitant to try to net her because of the awkward spot on which she was perched, and because if he scared her and didn't successfully catch her, she could panic and fly right into the nearby heavy traffic.

So we were all standing at a distance - Kay firing away with her trusty camera - when Miss Piggy suddenly took off toward the Franklin. She tried to land back on the railings, but couldn't get high enough and crashed into them, trapping her head, a wing and a leg in the railings.

Rick then SPRINTED right across Winter Street, oblivious to the traffic, and launched himself at her - almost like a football tackle - and grabbed her before she could escape. He extricated her carefully and then cradled her against his body. She was completely calm, no flapping or struggling whatsover. He examined her and noted that her flight feathers had not sufficiently developed to fly strongly, so she never would would have made it back to the nest on her own.

Rick took her back to the Center where she will live with a surrogate hawk for about three weeks. He will ensure that she can catch her own live food, then will release her in a remote area where she will not have to fight for territory.

Kay took amazing pictures of the rescue which she will post later today.

It was great to meet so many hawkaholics today! I will never forget our spontaneous burst of applause for Rick as he secured the bird carrier with our girl inside. Though it's sad she is no longer with her sibs, she had to be rescued because with the huge bike race tomorrow and attending crowds, she would have been in danger. Miss Piggy is now in the best possible hands.

While all this was going on, we hardly paid attention to the nest, but Portico was flying in and out really strongly. As I drove up the Parkway and was stopped at a light three or four blocks from the Franklin, I looked up and saw three hawks lazily circling - Mom, Dad and maybe Portico? They looked great!

When I got home, there was a call from the Philadelphia Inquirer who had picked up some of the Twitters. They had already interviewed Rick and Kay, so look out for an article tomorrow about Miss Piggy's Excellent Adventure!


  1. Tried to post a comment.
    Failed. This is a test. Will try again.

    Peg, from Thursday, shirleylando's sister

  2. Peg, It worked -- I could read your comment!

  3. Thanks so much for posting this and being down there watching the hawks - they are a huge part of my daily life for the last couple of months and this was both sad and fantastic at the same time - thanks again!

  4. Happy that Rick was available so quickly and equally happy that the hawks have so many people looking out for them. Thanks everyone!

  5. Della, Thank you so much for your updates throughout the day- even as your battery was running out! This blog update is just great. I'm so happy that our girl is now safe and will be well cared for, though we'll miss her!

  6. Hi Della!
    Stopping by to show you some "love" for your dedication and updates regarding the FI's hawklets! Thanks also for your lovely email and I have posted it and this link to your blog on our special "Fine Art America - FAA Hawklets" thread which can be read by visiting:

    We are an online artist community, and thanks to our member, Lora Duguay (who posted the live video when she made the thread) anyone visiting our site can read our comments about our "adopted" hawklets AND now have access to your blog.

    A special hug to you...

    Best Regards,
    Donna Proctor

  7. Hi Della!

    I'm posting a comment on behalf of an artist friend who doesn't have any accounts and can't post herself :):

    "It is truly a pleasure to watch these hawklets. I will have to say with heartfelt tears I will miss these beautiful birds when they are ready to go out into the world on their own. A big old Thanks to artist Lora Duguay, who posted the FI's live feed onto Fine Art America for the rest of us, and to YOU for this wonderful blog. Keep the updates coming.

    Shelley Jones
    Another Fan from FAA"

  8. It's so great that Rick from the wildlife center was there to help. Here in NYC we have many urban nests and sometimes the young hawks have trouble at first and are taken away just like this one, but they are always brought back to the same spot to rejoin their family. I don't understand why this one isn't coming back.

  9. I think the Franklin is examining all options to make the best decision for this young hawk.

  10. Della,

    Hooray for your blog, my first encounter. Without your continuous
    narrative, the visual history of this extraordinary experience would
    be uncertain and speculative. Will try to find a wireless spot in Stone
    Harbor,NJ, where a poorly timed 3 day vacation from Phila takes us
    this week. The absentee hawkaholic force is with you.

    As I am writing, last year's wren is once again checking out my window
    box for nesting purposes. It worked well in 08, no outdoor cat interference; two more smart parents.

  11. Thank you for this posting and keeping everyone updated. It's been a wonderful experience watching the growth and natural life of the hawks!