Red-tailed Hawk (#20-5600)

Red-tailed Hawk (#20-5600)
Dec 29 2020

In Southwest Florida, red-tailed hawks are less common than their cousins, the red-shouldered hawk. In northern states, however, it is the red-tailed hawk that is more abundant and can often be seen perched on fenceposts or telephone poles as they scan fields for their prey.

This juvenile red-tailed hawk was admitted to CROW after being struck by a vehicle traveling along I-95 in Virginia. The hawk crashed through the grill of the vehicle and became trapped between the grill and the radiator. It was not discovered until the vehicle reached its Florida destination.

Status Updates

Intake - Dec 29 2020 4:03 pm

Upon intake examination, radiographs revealed the hawk suffered a fractured radius and ulna of its right wing. The fractures were comminuted fractures which means the bone was broken into two or more pieces. The hawk was started on antibiotics and pain medication and a wrap was placed to reduce movement of its wing. A plan was made for surgery tomorrow.

Pinning Surgery - Dec 30 2020 12:00 am

The patient underwent surgery to repair the radius and ulna fractures. A total of four pins (one in the ulna, one in the radius and two cross pins) were placed in order to stabilize the bones for the healing process to begin. The pins were attached to an external fixation to keep them in place. After surgery, the body wrap was replaced to limit the movement of the wing.

Bandage Change - Jan 04 2021 12:00 am

Patient was observed perching in cage and holding its wing to its body without any droop. Bandages were replaced and medications continued to be administered. Veterinarians are concerned that the wing still has a large amount of swelling around the injury.

Swelling Reduced - Jan 06 2021 9:15 am

The hawk removed its wrap overnight so veterinarians placed a new wrap with clean bandages this morning. They noted the pin sites to be clean and dry and the the swelling has greatly improved!

Weight Gain - Jan 08 2021 9:00 am

Since surgery, the patient has received assisted tong feedings. On January 8, it was reported that the patient had started eating on its own, without assistance from hospital staff, and has been steadily gaining weight.

Began Physical Therapy - Jan 12 2021 2:51 pm

The hawk showed enough post-surgery progress to begin physical therapy. The patient was anesthetized during physical therapy to prevent self-injury. Significant elbow extension recovery was noted during physical therapy sessions.

Pin Removal - Jan 27 2021 3:04 pm

The hawk continued on a regular physical therapy schedule to improve elbow extension. The patient's wing droop has started to correct itself and radiographs indicated successful callus formation on both the ulna and radius. Since the bone has begun to form good callus, the ulna pin was removed and the ulna bone was reported to be stable.

Sad News - Feb 09 2021 2:44 pm

The hawk was moved outdoors to continue rehabilitation and was scheduled for a vet check to assess the wing droop that had appeared. Radiographs showed a new fracture near the wrist that was not associated with one of the previous, healing fractures. Veterinarians suspect the new fracture was caused by an underlying bone disease or a hairline fracture that worsened with attempted flight outdoors. This new fracture posed many problems for the hawk including making it a poor candidate for life in captivity. Unfortunately, the hawk’s prognosis going forward became grave with no possibility of regaining full flight. Veterinarians made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the hawk.