Folks have been through so much this year so when the Brazis family of Santa Rosa heard distressed cries coming from their yard, they immediately looked at each other and wondered,” What’s next?!? Rushing outside they found a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk on the ground at the base of what they assumed was the nest tree. Days before the family had seen the same young hawk squabbling with another hawk. This time the young hawk appeared to have lost the battle.
Family members scooped up the bird and immediately brought it to the Bird Rescue Center (BRC) in Santa Rosa. Katie, the BRC Hospital Manager, found evidence of impact trauma, missing feathers, slight visual issues, and bruising. Following her examination, Katie settled the bird in the main ward of the small hospital on Chanate Road. What followed was two weeks of expert care by staff, volunteers and consulting veterinarians, Dr. Rupiper and Dr. Burwell. It was then confirmed the youngster had regained perfect health of body and eyesight and was ready to return to the wild.
BRC staff were eager to reunite the bird with its parents, but there was another problem. Now fires and resulting poor air quality blanketed the region. The environment was too unhealthy to release a newly healed, inexperienced bird. Patiently, staff members waited for blue skies to re-emerge. Several days later air quality had improved and the BRC Raptor Release Team moved into action to return what was becoming one increasingly feisty bird.
Despite the length of time that had passed since the Brazis family first heard cries in their yard—the Raptor Release Coordinator reported a perfect reunite of the bird with its family. The youngster immediately flew to a tree adjacent to its nest tree, seeming to know exactly how to get home. And for the Brazis family, who were present during the return and re-release, it was tremendous satisfaction in seeing a bird they had found in distress return safely to the wild.
The Bird Rescue Center treats an average of 3,000 native wild birds of approximately 120 different species annually - birds which would certainly have perished without intervention. Almost half of all birds treated by BRC come from Santa Rosa. This Cooper’s Hawk is one of 127 raptors received so far this year.