Red Tailed Hawk Nursed Back to Health After Becoming Stuck in Car Grille

After yesterday's somewhat depressing post, it's time for an unqualified feel-good story today. The original article and several excellent photos can be seen if you...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Feb 3rd 2010


After yesterday’s somewhat depressing post, it’s time for an unqualified feel-good story today. The original article and several excellent photos can be seen if you click here.

Hawk stuck in car’s grille returned to the wild

DAVIS, CA- A hawk that was hit and stuck in a car’s front grille earlier this month has been nursed back to health and released into the wild.

The driver who hit the hawk, Brian Hanley, was given the honor of releasing the bird Wednesday morning.

The young red-tailed hawk was struck by Hanley’s car on a Yolo County road on Jan. 6, according to UC Davis environmental sciences spokeswoman Sylvia Wright.

When Hanley realized what happened, he immediately went to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine with the hawk still in the grille of the car.

Once he arrived at the school he found John Madigan, who is a horse veterinarian and associate director of the university’s veterinary teaching hospital.

As it turns out, Hanley was lucky in finding Madigan. Wright says that Madigan is an authority on animal rescue and leads the school’s Veterinary Emergency Response Team.

Madigan was quickly able to gather staff from the Avian and Exotic Pet Service and two other veterinary teachers to help extract the bird’s head and talons from the car.

Wright said the team first removed the grille of the car and then safely rescued the hawk.

The hawk was found not to have any broken bones and only a chest injury that surgeons were able to repair the next day.

The bird, identified as a juvenile red-tailed hawk, could have been released earlier, but raptor center experts waited for the stormy weather to pass.

Photo: LTShears