Looking for snakes and finding an injured hawk

October 07, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Josh and I started our day heading an hour out of Walla Walla to Pomeroy to look for rattlesnakes we heard were congregating there.

The first place we stopped had this hawk sitting there. At first it appeared to just be a great photo op. But it became evident the bird was injured. We grabbed our sweatshirts, cameras, and hopped the fence. There was a deep gully to one side. Josh went into the gully flanking the bird to scare it towards me. The bird flailed and landed on its back in a thistle patch. Having never handled a raptor and knowing they have very sharp beaks and talons, I carefully laid my sweatshirt over it. The hawk grabbed it firmly with its talons. I had visions of it whipping up and biting me, so, with Josh helping control its head, we carried it to a clearing to finish wrapping up the hawk.

This is a rather awkward looking way to carry it, but it was intended to keep its sharp beak away from me. This is the point I was able to lay it down in Josh's sweatshirt so he could cover its head and wrap up its wings.

Josh held it in his lap for the two hour drive to Pendleton to Blue Mountain Wildlife.

Very intense eyes.

Josh carrying it into the rehab facility.

Josh and Lynn Tompkins unwrapping the bird.

After all of our fear of that beak, Lynn picked up the hawk like a pro with no fear. She said Red Tails aren't much of biters. The big thing is to get control of their sharp talons. She felt along its wing and confirmed it was broken. They will be x raying it Monday. If possible they will insert a pin in the bone and help it heal. Otherwise, the bird will be euthanized for a variety of reasons, but primarily for the birds own good. 

We left the wildlife place and stopped at the south fork of the Walla Walla river. We had started the day looking for snakes and decided to see what we could do in the dwindling light. We hiked up the side of the canyon a few hundred feet in elevation.

There was a great view from up there.

Josh climbing the fairly steep incline.

Me looking down the valley (photo by Josh Gesler)

We found a rattlesnake! (Photo by Josh Gesler)

I love working with snakes. Using the snake stick I was able to coax it into an interesting pose that we spent some time photographing.

Me at work with the snake (photo by Josh Gesler)


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