Having three bird feeders (two sunflower feeders plus a thistle feeder) and suet hanging by the farm kitchen door and window brings an endless stream of birds – chickadees, tufted titmice, cardinals, nuthatches, finches and lots of LBBs (little brown birds).  Ground feeders like morning doves and Chippy-Chippy the chipmunk enjoy the spillage; some of the sunflower seeds that survive will volunteer and turn into sunflower trees.

With all the inbound and outbound bird traffic, you’d expect occasional flight miscalculations would result in collisions with a windowpane or door pane but it just didn’t happen. Until a family member recently commented on the lack of bird/glass strikes — shortly after this comment was made a loud “BAM!” came from the kitchen door.

Just outside the door we could see a bird lying prone with it’s neck twisted in a way that seemed inconsistent with life. It was a juvenile male Cooper’s Hawk. After waiting a few minutes (and with no movement), I went out with a shovel and gloves to bury the body away from the house/dogs.

But when I rounded the corner, the bird was sitting up.  Not moving, but upright – a bird not a body – and definitely not dead yet! Wrapping a towel around Tommy (the Hawk) and taking him to a sheltered spot was the first step in getting him back on his feet. Or wings.

A quick Google search gave a few more suggestions:

*  Put the bird in a warm, dark spot and preferably in a container with a lid
*  Handle as little as possible
*  Keep the bird safe from children, pets, predators
*  Check on the bird periodically by taking the box outside and opening it – if the bird flies off then it has recovered
*  If the bird hasn’t recovered in a few hours, contact a nearby wildlife rehabilitator
— Rehabilitators are often listed under state Department of Natural Resources or in this Wildlife Rehab directory

Great suggestions on how to keep birds safe around windows is found on this excellent Cornell Lab of Ornithology web page.

The story had a happy ending – after spending time in the Hawk Recovery Room (former chicken house), Tommy the Hawk flew into the branches of the nearby Sycamore, then flew away. Goodbye Tommy, and please do your hunting somewhere else.

And after all this, we were only a bit late for the family dinner (our mother would have approved).

TommyCooper'sHawk

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