SALINAS – A red-shouldered hawk became so entangled in a fishing line strung between a pair of trees along a Salinas walking trail that wildlife rescuers at the scene could only watch helplessly , hang from one of its wings.
The rescue proceeded when a resident spotted the hanging falcon and called the SPCA’s Monterey County Wildlife and Rehabilitation Center who dispatched wildlife technician Alexis Evripidou. But it was clear that when Evripidou arrived, she would not be able to reach the hawk.
A call to the Salinas Fire Department prompted firefighters to deploy a motor with an extendable hydraulic arm and perform a rescue of the female falcon on September 24. After spending the night comforted with pain relievers for her aching shoulder, wildlife center staff released her the next morning in the area where she was discovered, said Dawn Fenton, responsible for content and education. of the SPCA.
There is no way to tell if the hawk got trapped in the fishing line that was already in the trees or if the hawk picked up the line somewhere else and was hanging it behind it when it came through the trees. , Fenton said.
According to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the oldest and largest member-backed raptor conservation organization, the Red-shouldered Hawk is not an endangered species.
Rescue of an adult female is important because she could mate, or has mated, and could produce young red-shouldered hawks. Pairs generally stay in the same territories and reuse the same nesting sites for many years.
And that was also an advantage for the firefighters. A post on the City of Salinas Firefighters Association Facebook page confirmed the falcon had been trapped in a fishing line and the engine company could use it as an aerial spotting and rescue exercise .
“We are delighted to have been able to capture this bird for additional care and rehabilitation,” the post read. Firefighters captured the bird by throwing a rag around it so that it would not be injured by its beak or extremely sharp talons, and to prevent it from struggling which could have injured it further.
For anyone lucky enough to spot red-shouldered hawks during mating season, the raptors put on quite a show. The courtship display lasts about 18 days, and during this time, “circle flight” and “sky dance” displays are performed.
In their circular flights, the pairs soar together with their wings outstretched and their tails outstretched. Male and female approach and then move away from each other, and one member of the pair sometimes rises higher than the other and dives on top of the other. Males “dance in the sky” by repeatedly performing a steep dive and then spiraling upward.
Red-shouldered hawks resemble red-tailed hawks, but when viewed from the ground looking up, red-shouldered hawks have a ringed tail, while red-tailed hawks are aptly named by having a reddish-brown tail.
The Wildlife Center is the only full-service rehabilitation center serving Monterey County. It operates under license from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The center saves more than 2,500 animals per year.
Information on donating to the center is available at www.spcamc.org/donate.