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Harry the Harrier Hawk - by Mel Scott

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Harry the Harrier Hawk was brought into the clinic on a Thursday evening after a visitor to town had found him in Lake Rotoiti.  He was exhausted and was only just managing to keep his head above water. They grabbed him with a towel and transferred him into a fish bin and used a recycling bin on top.

When he arrived at the clinic he was able to stand and almost dried but his wings and feet were very weak.  It was decided to tube feed him with some recovery and fluids,  then see how he looked in the morning. He was much brighter in the morning much stronger in his legs but his wings were still very drooped.

After discussions with several of our Vets they thought he was either extremely muscle sore from being in the lake or  that he was most likely effected with Botulism and would need care until he was strong enough to be released.  I decided that I would be keen to give him a go and take him home over the weekend.

I phoned Wingspan and they were unable to take him as they are in the process of moving but were very helpful and knowledgeable, they dropped off some  food to feed him. For the first few days his care involved catching him in a towel  4 times a day, being very careful not to get grabbed by his seriously sharp talons and tube feeding him with recovery and electrolytes.

He became stronger each day and began eating his food. As his became stronger he became more feisty and difficult to handle so it was good to just be able to throw the food at him. He would still come out twice a day to flap his wings and gain the strength he needed for his release.

He was successfully released after two and a half weeks and he flew off  beautifully, soaring above us. It was a really neat experience and I really enjoyed looking after him.


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