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July 14, 2014

Abandoned young hawk rescued

Taken to West Virginia Raptor Rehab Center, reportedly in ‘bad shape

FAIRMONT — A young broad-winged hawk has found a temporary home thanks to concerned citizens.

On Sunday, Officer Jeremiah Clark with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) responded to a call of an abandoned broad-winged hawk in Katy. He said residents in the area had found the hawk in a ditch near 4H Camp Road and weren’t sure if it was injured or had just fallen from its nest.

Clark said the residents called the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, who forwarded the call the DNR. He said the resident told him there are usually two adult hawks that live in the area around this time of year.

“He suspects that the bird came from the nest that has been occupied every year,” Clark said.

From there, Clark took the bird to the West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center (WVRRC) on Bunner Ridge Road for care. The WVRRC is a non-profit organization that rehabilitates birds of prey, also known as raptors, and releases them into their natural habitat when ready.

Mike Book, director of the WVRRC, said with this broad-winged hawk that was brought to the center on Sunday, they will look at the physical condition of the bird. He said broad-winged hawks are common in the area.

As for the condition of this hawk, Book said the bird is in “bad shape.” He said the hawk is below its average weight. If the bird had been abandoned by its parents, he said, there are two reasons to why it’s alone.

One reason would be that something happened to its parents where it had to fend for itself. The other reason would be that there is something wrong with the hawk and it was abandoned because of it.

“The parents aren’t going to take care of something that doesn’t have a chance to survive in the wild,” Book said. “They will put all their effort into feeding the healthy offspring. That’s the way Mother Nature works.”

Book said the volunteers at the WVRRC will feed the hawk and hopefully make it stronger to where they can release it back into the wild.

“People think that they’re abandoned and they’re not really abandoned but in some cases they would be,” he said. “If we can put them back where we got them, that’s what we do.”

In 2013, Book, said the WVRRC treated 97 raptors. With a recent upgrade in facilities, he said the hawk that was rescued Sunday will be the 96th raptor to come to the WVRRC this year.

Book said having the newly build facilities and people knowing how to get hold of the WVRRC is the reason why they have taken in more birds this year. He said this year they have released 60-65 percent of the raptors they’ve taken in.

For more information about the WVRRC visit their website at www.wvrrc.org.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.

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