A great black hawk that made itself at home in Portland’s Deering Oaks Park was rescued during Sunday’s storm after suffering from frostbite.
Two volunteers came across the bird on Sunday morning, and the raptor was on the ground and unable to stand under its own power, according to Avian Haven, a wild bird rehabilitation center in Freedom.
The two handed off the injured hawk in Topsham to Avian Haven volunteers, who brought the bird the rest of way to the rehabilitation center, Avian Haven said in a Facebook post.
“The hawk seemed nearly dead when it left Portland, but was provided with plenty of heat for the trip and had its eyes open when checked at the Topsham hand-off,” Avian Haven wrote in the post.
Native to Central and South America, the great black hawk is the first of its kind to be spotted in the United States, Doug Hitchcox, an Audubon staff naturalist, told the BDN in November. Its appearance in Portland late last year made it a minor celebrity as birders flocked to Deering Oaks to catch a glimpse of the rare bird.
Great black hawks do not usually fly north beyond Mexico, and it’s unclear what brought this particular bird so far beyond its normal range. But the tropical bird ran into trouble Sunday when a major storm brought freezing temperatures, snow and sleet to the state.
The Deering Oaks hawk suffered frostbite on its feet, but Avian Haven reported that by Monday morning the bird’s condition appeared to be improving, with it alert and standing.