(cont….)We were down there doing bullfrog surveys at various cattle tanks that surround Peña Blanca Lake. At the end of one of our surveys, we were approached by two off-duty Border Patrol officers who asked us to return to their base station with them to see an injured hawk that was on the ground. When we got to the station, we found a baby hawk sitting at the base of a tree. There had been a storm the night before, and it most likely had been blown out of the nest. The baby had some brown feathers growing in on its back and wings, but was otherwise still covered in down. After describing some various hawks and their calls to the men, we were able to determine it was a grey hawk. Our first thought was that we needed to get this baby back in the nest, but the nest was inaccessible without climbing gear. So I made a nest out of towels I had and placed it in a 5-gallon bucket (all we had for containment) and brought it in to Liberty.
Now, we are quite fortunate that Liberty has such a great relationship with Game and Fish. Many of you know Tuk and Kyle, who work with the Eagle Program for Game and Fish. They spend a lot of time climbing trees and cliffs to access Eagle nests, so we asked if they would help us out getting this bird back into its nest and they agreed to help.
On Thursday, July 28th, Tuk, Kyle, another biologist named Robert Fink, and I headed back south toward the Atascosa Mountains to hopefully return the baby grey hawk to its home. We arrived back at the Border Patrol Base Station and were a bit discouraged when we found nothing in the nest. It didn’t take long, though, until we noticed a fledgling perched in a tree adjacent to the nest tree. Both adults were found not far from the nest tree as well.
Kyle put on his climbing gear and got himself up the tree and as close to the nest as possible. Then, with the help of a long, sturdy branch, he coaxed the baby onto the end of the branch and allowed it to perch there. Then he pushed the branch to the edge of the nest, and the baby climbed off the branch and back into its nest. When we last saw the baby hawk, it was happily perched in the nest. A successful return to the nest hopefully means that this bird will eventually contribute to this sensitive species population.