A red-tailed hawk is recovering after it took an almost thousand-mile ride from Virginia to Cape Coral recently.
According to a news release from CROW, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife on Sanibel, the hawk struck the vehicle of a Dracut, Massachusetts couple traveling on I-95 while on their way to their winter home in Cape Coral.
“We heard a loud thud out of nowhere,” said Eileen Bellefeuille, who was in the vehicle with her husband Rudy when the hawk struck.
The couple stopped to check the damage to the vehicle and found a broken grill.
They arrived in Cape Coral on Dec. 28, close to 24 hours later, and discovered the hawk under the hood of the car after a neighbor informed them of a “screeching sound” coming from the truck.
It crashed through the grill and became trapped in between the grill and the radiator, the news release states.
“Rudy opened the hood and out pops this hawk,” Bellefeuille said. “It tried to fly away, but couldn’t so we were able to get into a box and called the police.”
Cape Coral police sent the couple to CROW.
The hawk sustained fractures to both its radius and ulna bones in its wing. The hawk underwent surgery on Dec. 30 to place pins to keep the fractured bone pieces aligned.
“When the animal got to us, it was definitely in pretty bad shape,” said Dr. Heather Barron, medical and research director at CROW.
Barron said the hawk has a long road to recovery and long odds to survival.
The pins will remain in place for three to four weeks, followed by a week or two of cage rest, Barron said.
“If all goes well to that point, the hawk will be moved to an outdoor flight enclosure to begin building back its flight muscles,” she said.
It’s not unusual for hawks to get in stuck in cars and trucks.
But for 24 hours and 1,000 miles?
“That’s definitely a long time,” Barron said. “That’s a record, in my experience.”