Red Tailed Hawk Found in Frenchtown
A red tailed hawk was found under a swing set in a lady’s yard in Frenchtown. He had been there a couple of days without moving. She called for someone to come and take a look at the hawk and find out why he was just sitting in the yard. Erica, Coral World’s vet tech, was dispatched to investigate. Once on the scene, Erica could tell he was a fledgling or just a bit older. He had fallen out of his nest in a nearby tree. His mother couldn’t do anything, so she abandoned him.
Erica brought the hawk to a local veterinarian to be examined. He had a very bad eye injury on his left eye, from the fall. It was completely swollen shut and very weepy. The eyeball itself was filled with blood, but he didn’t have any orbital fractures of his eye socket. They took photos and videos of the hawk’s eye and sent them to our ophthalmologist. After viewing the photos and videos, she recommended a treatment plan of both anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drops. The trick is, this was a bird with very sharp nails and a sharp beak. As it turned out, he was actually really calm about receiving the drops.
The eye changed a lot over time he spent at Coral World. Routine photos were taken to keep record of the change in the eye. They identified that the lens of the eye had actually became detached, and he couldn’t see with his left eye. Birds need 3D vision, or vision in both eyes to fly. Being blind in one eye makes him non-releasable. Erica started working with him using a glove, he learned sit on her hand. Since he was a baby when he was found, he wasn’t really afraid, so he learned fast. He stood on a special perch every couple of days to be weighed.
He was at Coral World for three months while his eye healed. Then he was rehomed to the St Croix aviary sanctuary. He would be an education animal that visits schools to teach kids about raptors on the islands. He did great and Erica got to take him for his first walk outside of a cage on a little leash.