This red-tailed hawk showed up on Willowbrook’s property during March. He was observed hanging around the Trail cages, sitting on the fences, hunting voles on the trail, perching in surrounding trees, and often getting unusually close to people. He disappeared for a week, and then returned on April 9th. This appearance was a little different. He “followed” an animal keeper volunteer from cage to cage as the cages were being cleaned.
The staff decided his behavior was too close for comfort and that this human habituated hawk needed to be trapped before it injured a person. Permission to trap the bird was obtained from the Fish and Wildlife Service and a live trap (see below) was borrowed from a local falconer.
The next morning the hawk was sitting in a tree near the eagle cage (a favorite roosting site for him!) The trap was set with dead rats as bait. Within 5 minutes, the hawk was in the trap!
The bird was examined by the vet and appeared to be in good health. Although he was able to hunt successfully in the wild, his tame behavior around people posed a risk to both humans and the bird. Releasing him in a remote area was also not an option because many red-tailed hawks migrate and his chance of coming close to humans was too great.
With the help of the Fish and Wildlife Service, a permanent home was found at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The bird will be used in their educational programs. The last message from the Sanctuary is that the bird is adjusting well to his new home!
The Photos below show the trap before and after triggering.