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Grifton manager helps rescue red-tailed hawk

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An injured red-tailed hawk was found and rescued at the Grifton RV Park off Contentnea Drive.


By Jake Keator
The Times-Leader

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

GRIFTON — An injured red-tailed hawk was found and rescued at the Grifton RV Park off Contentnea Drive earlier this month.

Grifton Manager Joe Johnson first noticed the hawk was unable to fly.

Johnson was on a lunch break with utility supervisor Billy Raynor when he spotted the hawk.

“When we first saw the bird, I thought he was just there eating something he had caught, so we just rode by. When we came back through a few minutes later he was still there, so I asked Billy to stop,” Johnson said.

The hawk walked away from Johnson and Raynor, which made Johnson believe the hawk could not fly. Johnson knew that if the hawk did not receive help, a predator, such as a fox, most likely would kill it.

Johnson called biologist Chris Kent of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, and decided to keep his eye on the bird to make sure it stayed safe.

“Chris came from New Bern to capture the hawk,” Johnson said.

By the time Kent had arrived, the hawk had walked almost 1,000 feet from the location where Johnson had originally spotted it.

“Chris’ timing was perfect. He arrived just as the hawk had gone into a briar patch, making it difficult to get away,” Johnson said.

Once Kent arrived, he worked to corner the hawk in a patch of brush and captured it. The hawk had suffered a broken wing and an injured leg.

The injured hawk was placed into a carrier and transported to the Cape Fear Raptor Center, which is located in Rocky Mount.

Johnson said he is happy the hawk was captured safely and will receive the care it needs to make a full recovery. He also hopes to continue to hear updates on the hawk as the weeks progress.

If citizens encounter an injured wild animal, Johnson advises them to not attempt capturing the animal. Ground animals, such as raccoons, possums and foxes carry a higher risk of rabies, which is transferable to humans. Johnson asks for citizens to be extra cautious when dealing with ground animals.

“Call N.C. Wildlife and let them advise you on what to do,” he said.

Kent advised travelers to not throw food scraps onto the shoulders of highways. The food attracts small rodents and prey, which in turn attracts predators such as hawks.

When diving for food, hawks gain tunnel vision, keeping them from seeing oncoming threats like cars and trucks.

If you come across an injured animal, call the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission helpline at 919-707-4011.