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DOW Searching For Clues On Who Shot Red Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk that Scott Rashid rehabilitated last summer. On Sunday, April 6th, Rick Spowart, Colorado Division of Wildlife Manager received a call about a large hawk in Estes Park that was unable to fly and needed help.

Upon arrival, he discovered an injured Red-Tailed Hawk at Pine Meadow Drive in Carriage Hills. With the help of the land owner and bird rehabilitator Scott Rashid, Spowart gathered the bird and placed a towel over it and discovered it was bleeding and had a compound fracture of the ulna and radius bones in the right wing. A compound fracture means that the bones are broken and are protruding through the skin being exposed to the air. If the bones are exposed too long, the bone dies and the bird has to be put to sleep.

At first it was thought that the bird may have been hit by a passing vehicle but on closer examination, it was determined that the bird had fragments of lead in his wing. These and all birds of prey are federally protected by law and shooting one is a criminal offense.

According to Spowart, “The bird had to have been shot very close to the area where it was found because the bird could not move at all with these serious injuries.”

He continued, “Shooting this bird was needless and cruel and we intend to find out who did it and press charges.”

Red-Tailed Hawks are not dangerous or a threat to humans. Rashid said, “These hawks and all other birds of prey only do what they are designed to do. We may think it is cruel when they attack and kill a rabbit, but that is what they are designed to do. If hawks, eagles, owls and falcons didn’t kill to eat, we would be overrun with mice, voles, rats, rabbits, snakes and other creatures that most people feel are undesirable.”

The hawk was taken to the Birds of Prey Foundation in Broomfield and then to the Bell Crest Animal Clinic in Colorado Springs for medical treatment and rehabilitation.
If the bird survives, by the time he is released back in Estes, costs to treat this bird will be in excess of $2,000.

Operation Game Thief is now offering a reward for any information that leads to finding out who committed this crime. If anyone has any information about who shot this Red-Tailed Hawk please contact Rick Spowart, CDOW Wildlife Manager, at the Estes Park Police Department 586-4000 or by calling 667-2984.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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