This young hawk was found in a garden at Mansfield and brought in to us before dark. We were relieved because it was unlikely he would have survived overnight. Can you come and fetch him was the first question when the concerned people who found the bird rang up? Unfortunately we can’t do this at present, we don’t have the rescources unfortunately – one day perhaps.
How to pick this fierce, injured and stressed bird up and get him in the a travelling container? It’s not so difficult though, don’t be afraid of him, he is terrified of you. The first thing to do get a cardboard box, not too big, if he can flap about he might injure himself more. It needs to be just right for the bird and his long wings to fit in. Punch some holes in the sides. If you do this before putting the bird in you will cause less stress. This is the biggest killer of a wild bird. A cat basket will do if you can’t find a box.
We put a few layers of newspaper in the bottom and then a towel on top of the paper. This give his talons something to grip. Now you need to get a large towel or soft blanket, a fleece is ideal. Approach the bird quietly and cover him with the fleece then scoop him up. He will be in the dark and not likely to struggle. Watch out for his talons and beak, they need to be completely covered. He won’t deliberately set out to hurt you but even a baby raptor (bird of prey) has strong and sharp beak and feet.
Pop him into the box, remove the fleece and close the box up. If you can’t get him in to us straight away, put a few large leaves in a corner of the box and give him some food. Ideal is a cut up dead chick but ~I guess not many people have those in the fridge! A small dead mouse would do but some strips of raw meat or a bit of raw mince would do in an emergency. Place the food on the leaves. Why leaves? Wild birds are suspicious of plastic and anything man-made. Keep it all as natural as possible.
Food with fur and bones and inners are what the bird needs and will like. You don’t need to give water and definitely not milk. The hawk will get all the moisture he needs from meat. Put him in a warm, quiet place overnight. If he’s eaten the meat when you look at him in the morning that is a very good sign. If he hasn’t eaten then he will have to be hand fed to get him going ……. that’s for the experts only!
Our latest arrival has survived the night and is alert. It looks as though wings and tail feathers are injured. He ate last night’s mouse so we are hopeful of his recovery. We’ve called him Manni – a bit feisty (a good sign) and he came from Mansfield!