Who shot a red-tailed hawk with nearly a dozen BBs, a pellet and an arrow?
As that bird continues to recover, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is investigating who injured the federally-protected hawk.
It’s an image that’s almost hard to believe. A red-tailed hawk in Oxford is perched on a branch with a nearly two-foot arrow piercing its tail.
“The way most of our rehab patients come to us are from good samaritans seeing something, saying something,” said Christine Peyreigne, president of Christine’s Critters, a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation organization.
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And Christine said that’s what happened in this case, too. A neighbor spotted the bird and began reaching out to rescues and the state.
It took 12 days and multiple attempts, but a falconer contacted by Christine’s Critters finally managed to capture the bird of prey in late December. Christine’s mom, Betsy, rushed the bird to the vet.
“I literally drove to the vet with the bird under my arm,” said Betsy.
The bird couldn’t fit into a holding cage due to the protruding arrow.
X-rays show the older adult hawk had been shot with not just an arrow but nearly a dozen BBs and a pellet.
“This is somebody purposely trying to kill this bird. They weren’t trying to scare her off. They were trying to kill her,” said Betsy.
After surgery, Christine brought the bird home and got to work getting her back to full health. With time and care, the hawk’s wounds are nearly healed, and it’s clear to see she’s got a big appetite and personality.
“She’s been a difficult rehab patient because she is so feisty. Typically the feisty patients are the survivors, and you think this bird was out in the wild for 12 days with an arrow through her. She’s feisty. She means business,” said Christine.
While the hawk recovers, DEEP is investigating. The federally-protected bird was found in the area of Thorson Road and North Mark Drive in Oxford. It’s illegal to take, injure or harass any bird of prey, and the agency said residents concerned about livestock should properly shelter them from the weather and predators.
“We want to enforce these laws. We want to protect these birds and make sure they are getting the justice they deserve,” said Christine.
Christine said that depending on weather and recovery, she’d like to release the hawk by mid-February. She hopes others understand why these birds are protected and how important they are.
“Raptors are our best friends. They are very good rodent control, and we want to protect them. We want to support them,” said Christine.
If you have any information on who may be responsible for shooting the red-tailed hawk, you’re asked to contact Connecticut State Environmental Conservation Police at 860-424-3333.