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Mended bird released in urban Hamilton

Hawkeye Bird Control: Rehabilitated hawk released

Hawkeye Bird Control: Rehabilitated hawk released

Timmy, a rehabilitated young red-tailed hawk, had no trouble soaring to freedom when released, not in the wild, but at his Hamilton home ground on the Mountain. He flew up, perched himself high on a pine tree for a few seconds, and then took off to enjoy his new lease on life.


“This is so cool,” rescuer Gord Marsden, a rehabilitation expert, said Wednesday as he prepared to release Timmy in a small clearing on his Upper Wellington property.


Timmy was a nestling blown out of his nest near the top of a 60- to 70-foot white pine beside Marsden’s house when he was found in early July. Marsden hadn’t seen him since rushing him to Hawkeye Bird Control Inc. near Acton.


Julia Staines of Hawkeye gave Timmy his name. And the bird expert is confident the hawk, now close to five months old, will do just fine. “It was a good release. He went up on the tree, got his bearings and flew off. And the way he flew, it was strong.”



Timmy had spent about eight or nine weeks at Hawkeye. The company’s main work is supplying hawks and birds of prey for pigeon control at landfills and airports. It also supplies such birds for films and theatre — Staines was taking one of her hawks to Stratford that very evening for its regular performance in the play Camelot.


It’s a good thing for Timmy that Marsden took a keen interest in saving him. Marsden and his daughter were coming home one evening when they saw eight or nine people gathered on the street looking at something. “They had no idea what it was.”


But Marsden, in the Hamilton Junior Naturalist club for years as a child, knew. He had noticed the nest for days and watched with binoculars as the nesting hawks tore up field rats and small rabbits and fed them to their young. “A red-tail nesting in a residential area is highly unusual,” said Marsden, a bird enthusiast. He also sensed the hawks would never find Timmy on the ground so far from the nest and obscured by the trees, underbrush and vegetation on his property.


So they chased Timmy onto Marsden’s lawn. He and a neighbour went to fetch a cat cage and gloves, but when they returned, the nestling had disappeared. They grabbed flashlights and tried to find the young bird, without success. The next morning Marsden could hear bluejays and crows around his house squawking up a storm. He knew the little hawk had to be nearby. He found it in the doorway of his shed, not far from his back door. Now came the tough part — quickly finding a rehabilitation facility to care for him until he could take care of himself. Marsden and his daughter finally found Hawkeye on the Internet. They called, and were soon on their way to deliver the nestling.


“The fact is, they are compassionate at what they do,” said Marsden. And he likes that staff there have a feeding method that doesn’t make wild hawks dependent on humans for sustenance. They have to be able to hunt in the wild.


Staines said the nestling was in good shape, but needed a lot of food. “It was a little bit too young to leave the nest.”“When we got him, we gave him a quail and he tore it and started eating it. So we knew he could feed himself.”


Before the release in the midst of a light rain, Marsden said he was very excited to see it: “You don’t often have the occasion to take that animal to someone compassionate and then see their release. There are few things that are precious, and this is along those lines.”

Carmela Fragomeni | The Hamilton Spectator | Thu Sep 08 2011