MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — A red-shouldered hawk and a Barred Owl sat in side-by-side cages at a Mystic nature center, but that hawk is now headed back to the wild.
The hawk checked himself in, so to speak.
“He noticed there were mice and quail inside the cage,” said Maggie Jones, Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center.
After trying to get to the food inside, he collapsed right outside it.
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“When he came in he weighed as much as a piece of paper,” said Jones. “He didn’t make the scale hardly budge.”
Now he tips the scale at a healthy two-and-a-half pounds.
“He’s been flying around. He’s eager to go,” said Jones. “He’s in great shape.”
The hawk headed right to the tops of the trees after his release. They expect he’ll be practicing his predatory moves.
“It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he catches something,” said Jones.
They hope to also successfully release the Barred Owl, brought to the center after he broke his wing searching for food.
“He tried to get into the chicken coop to get at what he thought would be easier food, and he got tangled up and hurt that wing pretty badly,” said animal curator Laurie Crave-Rogers.
He’s healed and will soon be moved into a flight enclosure before release.
“So he’ll be able to have stronger wings is what we’re going to be looking for, as well as being able to hop from perch to perch,” said Crave-Rogers.
The owl is the last of the 10 hungry birds that came to the center this winter, making for a very expensive season. The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center had to spend thousands on extra mice they needed to feed the birds, plus there were quite a few vet bills as well.