Sunday, September 11, 2011

#3 released and is flying free

I received wonderful news today from Rick Schubert at the Schuylkill Wildlife Rehabilitation Center that #3 (aka Squishy) has been released and is now flying free. This picture was taken at the SWRC before she left.

         Steve Aldrich

From Rick Schubert:

"Number 3 was recently taken to an undisclosed location, where she is already flying free and is being hacked-out. She's an enormously strong and fast flier, with a penchant for killing almost everything in sight. She watches carefully, judges the best moment, then swoops down and grabs it. She's in a carefully selected habitat to give her the best chance for a long life.

With juvenile red-tailed hawks such as Number 3 at a wildlife center, the release is not a single moment where you let the bird go and walk away; it is a process. Because of that, she needs lots of privacy and quiet to complete the rehabilitation process.

As always, wildlife rehab is not about interfering with natural processes; it is about un-interfering. We give back a chance at life to an animal who lost it as a result of something we've done. Just a chance, not a guarantee, because we believe these animals have value in and of themselves, for their own sake as living beings, and not simply for the use or enjoyment of humans. In this case, the hawk didn't ask to be born on a cement building with cameras and streets and cars and artificial lights and honking horns and smog, nor did it deserve to take its very first flight looking into Winter Street, the Vine Street Expressway, and a dozen lanes of the Ben Franklin Parkway. Their adaptability does them credit, but millions of years of evolution doesn't prepare them to make a first landing on a concrete sidewalk.

The rehabilitation of Number 3 was a complete success. Thanks to all the Hawkwatchers for their concern, and to Della and Carolyn Sutton and Peg Smith for their help. It's always OK to care.

It has been a busy summer, as we took in over 100 injured birds of prey so far in 2011, in addition to almost 3000 animals in total, and our Clinic is still full of patients. We hope and pray that next year the Franklin Institute hawks won't need us again."

Here's #3 in a recent picture showing the strength that Rick mentions.

         Steve Aldrich

Hacking-out is a technique used in rehabilitation to help the hawk to become an independent hunter by giving her exercise and experience outside of any cage or enclosure.

It seems perfect timing to get this news of #3 finally flying free at the end of a week when we think we have seen her siblings for the last time and believe they have headed out on their migratory flight.

Here are the last pictures from September 2 of the remaining eyass.  It had just caught a mouse on the ball field....

                     Carolyn Sutton

... and then looking eerily similar in its take-off technique to #3....

                     Carolyn Sutton

 
... it left and we have not seen it since.

 All three of the 2011 eyasses are now on the way to the next exciting stage in their lives, and they head out with our highest hopes for them.

19 comments:

  1. A bittersweet moment! I am so grateful to you and the intrepid band of hawk-stalkers who have kept me and the rest of the long-distance hawkaholics informed and enthralled throughout this third season with the FI hawks. - MaryAnne Lyons

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a lovely message on September 11, of all days. Am thrilled for the hawk and feel, and hope, this is symbolic for all of us.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What wonderful news on this solemn day! Thanks to all involved in her rehab and to all who care. "If you love someone, set them free."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wonderful news! Thanks for all the good work that Rick and the Schuylkill Wildlife Rehab Center have done. (Reminds me...I need to send a donation off to the Center to help them continue their mission!)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hallelujah!! Finally. May "Squishy" have a long and fruitful life! Thanks to all those involved in the rehabilitation process.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Is there even the remotest chance that she might, or could, find her way back to her family? JB -- what do you think?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fantastic news! Thank you for posting to let us know & thanks to Rick & his staff.

    JB opined on the NY Hawk chat at one point that perhaps FI #3 would not be likely to "make it" in the larger world because her premature takeoff might indicate that she was not making good judgments of situations. But reading your post today made me think that *maybe* she took that too-early flight precisely BECAUSE she is in fact an eager, born hunter, just one who simply took off & encountered concrete that she could not have known about.

    Whatever her reasons back then, it is a beautiful thing to see her fly strong & hunt well now!

    ReplyDelete
  8. The right things are being done for this hawk, giving it the highest chance of survival. It's hunting and killing in the hack period. That's very favorable. It has a good chance, I think.

    --John Blakeman

    ReplyDelete
  9. You people are all so awesome! Thank you for caring about this hawk's life. Thank you for the excellent care that she deserves. Thank you for letting us know her progress all along the way. Schuylkill Wildlife Rehab, Della, and all the others: thank you so much. 'It's always OK to care' is a great message. Uplifting.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wonderful News!! I was wondering if the good people at the SWR put identification bands on the released raptors? Would be great to identify one of the FI hawks if they make a return trip home.

    ReplyDelete
  11. HI All,, Chrisbee from NY. Wish i could've come down again to see the kids. Hope next year will provide more enjoyment and education for all of us. I had fun even though it was just a day and will treasure the photos i have.
    Thanks for all your efforts and dedication on the blog Della, and to all the Photogs for their great abilities in documenting the early lives of the eyasses.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi! I don't think there is a chance this hawk has any interest in reuniting with its family, as 'anonymous' asked. They are solitary creatures in adulthood, except during breeding and family rearing. So number 3 will start her young adulthood as other young hawks do - on her own, after they leave their family of origin.... Until some dashing male Red Tail catches her eye and they decide to get together to raise a family of their own. I'm sure she will pass on those ferocious hunter genes she got from her dad, to her own eyeasses....

    ReplyDelete
  13. Long live Squishy! I am delighted at the happy ending to the 2011 hawk season, and filled with hope for the parents and their offspring. Special thanks to Della for her bringing these stories to us.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Last Sunday (the 11th) John and I went down to the ballfield just in case. There was a huge loud bike event starting right there. No hawks in sight, none along the Parkway. However, we did see a freshly killed rat on the edge of the entrance ramp to Vine St, next to the ballfield. Could have been clipped by a car, or could have been dropped by a hawk...
    Of course, great news about the injured eyass. Now she has as good a chance as any. Thanks to all who made it happen.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Excellent News! And Congratulations, Della, for receiving the well deserved "Peoples Choice Award" ~ Everything Else Blogs « Most Valuable Blogger ~ CBS Philly! You did it!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just checked in to get news on #3 and I'm thrilled that all 3 chics have "flown the coop" and are on their way to LIFE. One other site I check out is the Decorah Eagle nest and it seems that mom and dad have begun primping the nest for 2012. And one other nest - NBG - where mom eagle was killed last year after flying into a plane, dad Norfolk was spotted with another eagle at the 2011 nest. It looks hopeful that he has found a new mate and "Life goes On". Ain't it wonderful. Gail - Philly

    ReplyDelete
  17. A little belately, many thanks to you, Della, and everyone else who kept us informed throughout the third hawk season. Just think, in only another couple of months we'll be seeing the nest being prepared for next year!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dropped in to re read Rick's comments from 2 years ago when reason prevailed over ego and unfettered appreciation for your blog trumped FB's faster pace.
    Dropped out of the scrum of liking and commenting back then because there was
    something about the chorus that reminded me of church.
    There is something that happens to human beings in all the enterprises we take on
    that seems to have a 5 year life line of endurance. Jon Mooallen observed it among the many people he observed in "Wild Ones". Ont he other hand, " the hope still lives, the work goes on and the dream shall never die'. EMK 1980

    ReplyDelete