QUECHEE, Vt. — After escaping from the nature nonprofit that was her home three weeks ago, a Harris’s hawk was recovered Monday by a trainer who said she had lost weight and was hungry.
The hawk, which was born in captivity and participated in flight demonstrations at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee, flew away on July 13.
“She has lost a significant amount of weight. She has a tick — we all can sympathize with that. She’s a little bedraggled. She’s been out for these last eight thunderstorms,” Anna Morris, a trainer, told the Valley News.
The hawk, called Paige, usually weighs about 2.2 pounds, and came back from her stint in the wild weighing 1.5 pounds. That means she lost almost a third of her weight.
A family who lived just a short distance from the nature center reported seeing the Harris’s hawk in their back yard.
“Paige was actually sitting on their back deck, on their railing,” Morris said. “All the trainer had to do was walk up to her and offer her the gloved hand, which she knows is a safe place to be. She seemed to be really keen.”
The trainers fed the hawk a whole quail upon her return.
Harris’s hawks are native to the southwest and are unusually social predators, often living and hunting in small groups. A small number of birds at the nature nonprofit participate in flight demonstrations, but it is also a sanctuary for injured birds in Vermont, serving some 1,025 last year.