RECENT RESCUE @ the Juneau Raptor Center

Posted: Friday, October 15, 2010

Name: "Duke"

Type of bird: Sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus).

What happened: On Aug. 6 a page was received from on resident on Mendenhall Peninsula Road. The caller said a bird had crashed into his window. Further investigation revealed a raptor motionless on the ground. The individual took placed the bird in a cushioned box and kept it in a quiet area. Two hours later, he reported the bird was still alive. It was then delivered to a JRC volunteer for care.

Injuries: Trauma to the head.

Care: Treatment began with medication to tend to the head injury. The bird acted subdued - sometimes laying down - and would initially only open one eye. The head was often tucked under a wing. By the next morning, the bird was alert, perching, ate a first meal and appeared to be doing well.

Release: On Aug. 20, Duke was fed then taken to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office for a banding with a numbered identification leg tag in preparation for release. Duke had recovered nicely and was more than ready to go back to nature. After the release, the hawk quickly flew to the nearest clump of trees and JRC volunteers lost sight of the bird in the trees. Members of the JRC believe Duke is a this-year juvenile, female sharp-shinned hawk.

More about the sharp-shinned hawk: Once considered "the enemy of all small birds," the sharp-shinned Hawk is a small, slender, feisty accipiter, with short, rounded wings and a long, narrow tail. Although small mammals and even insects appear in its diet, this forest-dwelling predator feeds almost entirely on small birds. They are found from Mexico northward to interior Alaska, depending on the breeding or wintering season. As is true of many members of the genus, the sharp-shinned hawk has especially long middle toes and large eyes, useful attributes for catching highly mobile prey. The species is the most sexually dimorphic of all North American raptors, with males averaging only 57 percent of the body mass of females. The species is known for hunting songbirds in parks and near houses, and is often seen taking prey at bird feeders. *

* Bildstein, Keith L. and Ken Meyer. 2000. Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online.

• Message phone for the Juneau Raptor Center, 586-8393; emergency pager, 790-5424; or for more information about the JRC, go online to

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