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Archive for Thursday, August 26, 2010

Young red-tailed hawk released back into wild after recovering from injuries

Volunteer Bill Whinery, Overland Park, who works with Operation Wildlife Operations near Linwood, handles a red-tailed hawk on Thursday. The hawk was ready for release at Clinton Lake.

Volunteer Bill Whinery, Overland Park, who works with Operation Wildlife Operations near Linwood, handles a red-tailed hawk on Thursday. The hawk was ready for release at Clinton Lake.

August 26, 2010

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Volunteer Bill Whinery, Overland Park, who works with Operation Wildlife Operations near Linwood, releases a black vulture at Clinton Lake on Thursday.

Volunteer Bill Whinery, Overland Park, who works with Operation Wildlife Operations near Linwood, releases a black vulture at Clinton Lake on Thursday.

Operation WildLife volunteer Bill Whinery bent low, preparing to toss a young red-tailed hawk into the air.

Rehabilitated birds released into wild

A red-tailed hawk and black vulture were released near Clinton Lake today. Enlarge video

“OK, here he goes,” he said.

The bird gave several hard flaps with its wings before flying to a nearby tree to perch.

“Definitely, he’s back home again,” said Samantha Walker, a natural resource specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Clinton Lake.

Last month, the bird was found just several hundred yards away near Clinton Lake’s maintenance shed.

“The poor little guy, he was skinny, held his head crooked” and had a damaged wing, Walker said.

She decided to take the bird, which most likely was hit by a car, to Operation WildLife, a nonprofit in Linwood that provides veterinary and rehabilitation services for injured and orphaned animals.

Once at Operation WildLife, the bird was given a shot to reduce swelling in the brain. Volunteers fed the bird pieces of rodent until it was strong enough to eat on its own.

And the big test came in the L-shaped flying pens. Before it could be returned to the wild, the hawk had to be able to round corners.

After four weeks of rehab, it was ready to return home Thursday morning.

“We always want to try to release them where we get them because most raptors mate for life,” Whinery said.

While the hawk, which was born this spring, was probably too young for a mate, Walker said she thought she spotted its mother in the weeks following the hawks’ trip to rehab.

The crew at Clinton Lake will keep a close eye on the bird, mostly out of curiosity, Walker said.

The potential for the bird to live a long and happy life is good. Once red-tailed hawks reach adulthood, they can live up to 15 to 20 years.

“Hopefully, it will have learned its lesson to avoid cars. But after that it should do just fine,” Whinery said. “Clinton Lake is a great place because you got the lake and they can always rely on dead fish.”

Along with the hawk, Whinery released a black vulture on Thursday. Rare to the region, the vulture was found in Overland Park, starving and unable to fly. It, too, was rehabilitated at Operation WildLife.

Whinery expects the vulture to spend the remainder of summer at the lake and then fly south this fall.

Watching the birds fly away is the high point for Whinery.

“They don’t turn around and say thank you for all the hard work. They just fly off,” he said. “But it is really rewarding to see all your hard work end up with an animal released to the wild.”

Comments

aquakej 3 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for wanting to help OWL! As someone mentioned, check out their main website at the link above, or also check out their Facebook Fan Page, www.facebook.com/operationwildlife. There, you can get up-to-date info. on current patients. OWL is seriously in need of funding for this next year, due to the economy. You can simply donate via PayPal, sending your money to "opwildlife@aol.com", or please attend one of two (or both!) fundraisers coming up in October: "Wine and Wings" silent auction/live raptor display/food/fun times/wine tasting at Maceli's and the "Open House" where you can get a tour of the Operation Wildlife hospital facility. Stay tuned to the facebook page for more info.

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Newell_Post 3 years, 7 months ago

It's not sporting to take one with a V-8.

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Shardwurm 3 years, 7 months ago

What's the daily limit on these birds?

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kansasmutt 3 years, 7 months ago

We just had a day long rock & metal concert in Eudora featuring 7 local bands and they raised several hundred dollars for Operation Wildlife. They (OW) had an owl , hawk and a falcon to show everyone, it was way cool. They do great work. Everyone send them a few dollars if you can.

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christy kennedy 3 years, 7 months ago

This is a great organization quietly and continuously doing great work. They have a tiny staff and rely on lots of truly dedicated volunteers. They also rely on donations and have huge expenses because they handle so many animals. Send them some $$ and pass it along!

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riverdrifter 3 years, 7 months ago

I saw a pair of black vultures a year ago and a single this year. They are expanding their range north and west and may be fairly common here in another decade.

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cryineyes 3 years, 7 months ago

How can we make donations to Operation Wildlife? What great work they do. It must be a beautiful thing to give a doomed animal a second chance...

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