A red-tailed hawk that has been recuperating at the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic since June 2 is now ready to return to the spot it was discovered. Volunteers from the clinic have scheduled the release for 2 pm on Friday, June 19, at Stadium Terrace and Oak Street, near Memorial Stadium.A good Samaritan reported seeing the apparently stricken hawk on the road near the University’s physical plant, and campus police brought it to the wildlife facility at the College of Veterinary Medicine. (The photo above was taken by Facilities and Services workers and tweeted out by the U of I Police Twitter feed.)
Volunteers at the clinic discovered that the bird was dehydrated and hadn’t been eating. A parasitic infection that the hawk likely acquired from its prey was causing severe inflammation of its mouth and esophagus. After receiving fluid therapy, treatment for the infection, and supportive care, the hawk is ready to be released.
Kelly Rockwell, a veterinary student who serves as co-manager of the Wildlife Medical Clinic, says the fact that this bird allowed people to capture it was a clear sign that all was not well.
“If they see people, they’ll want to fly away and not want to be around them, but since this guy was feeling so down and out, he was letting people come close to him because he didn’t have the energy to fly away and protect himself like a normal hawk would,” she said.
About the Wildlife Medical Clinic
The Wildlife Medical Clinic is part of the College of Veterinary Medicine and is operated primarily by veterinary student volunteers. It accepts ill, injured, or orphaned wildlife 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The clinic’s primary goal is to help animals recover to be released back into the wild. The clinic relies on fund-raising, donations and grants to cover the cost of medical equipment, diagnostic testing, specialist consultation and therapeutic and surgical treatments for wild patients. For more information, see vetmed.illinois.edu/wmc/.