The MN Raptor Center is an amazing organization - this is from their raptor release day.
These animals are not wildly endangered for the most part. The value of saving an individual hawk or vulture is debatable in a world full of bigger problems. But somehow the minuteness of the gesture - saving one Cooper's or Red Tail - makes it seem even more important. There is no compelling reason to do it except for the goodness of repairing one thing we caused. Whether with a car, a window, or a horribly misguided pellet, because some people still resent their fellow hunters that much.
And when you think about it, it's an incredible thing - to repair hollow avian bones and terrified wild muscles and tissues, to maintain enough distance to maintain the desire to leave the rehab environment - to be able to put a hawk back into the sky.
These animals are not cute, they are not their own best press and advocates to people who love baby bunnies, but we do need them in the ecology of our immediate surroundings, and we do need to look up and see the Hunters and not just clouds of House Sparrows spun out of control. Anyway, photos!
|Educational Red Tailed Hawk - this bird is injured past the point of rehab, and is one of the educational Raptors for schools and events like this one. The Education birds have been conditioned for the demands of human contact and closeness.|
|Another Red Tailed hawk in the education department: the coloration of red tailed hawks varies a lot within the species. It's often confusing to ID these birds from the underside!|
But most of the Raptor Center's patients, the VAST majority, do not wind up as education birds - most are released into the wild once again. Here's a red tailed hawk leaving the hospital after a car-related rehab: