Nearly two weeks after a cooper hawk was found injured in the busy streets of downtown Wilmington, the bird of prey took his flight back into the wild thanks to the help of a few concerned co-workers.
It started on Dec. 27th when Ben Galvacky was finishing up work at Womble Carlyle law firm in Wilmington. Through the window of the lobby Galvacky saw the hawk disoriented and wandering the city streets.
The building’s security guard informed Galvacky that he had heard a loud bang against the building a few minutes beforehand.
“At that point we more or less guessed or assumed that it was probably the hawk impacting the glass,” said Galvacky.
Galvacky and another employee were able to find a box and gently capture the bird, which they nicknamed “Frank,” as it was resting near a flower planter.
He called DNREC, but the offices were closed for the evening so Galvacky took the bird back to his home in Lewes.
“There was nothing else I could do at that point so I kept him overnight. I also have yellow naped Amazons (parrots), so I’m pretty familiar with birds in general,” said Galvacky. “We put him in a dog crate; we covered him up and put water in the cage in case he got thirsty. The following morning I brought him back up to Wilmington to see if we could get some services for this bird to nurse him back to health.”
The next day, officials with DNREC were able to contact Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research to arrange medical care.
Lisa Smith, executive director of Tri-State, explained that the raptor had a severe wing injury when it came in.
“He had a cut on him on the left part of his wing,” said Smith. “He was anesthetized and our veterinarian sutured the wings, the laceration, and he was put on antibiotics and a pain medication and given fluids and given a quiet place to recover.”
Smith added that the injury was likely from hitting a window, one of the leading causes of mortality in native wild birds.
“A lot of song birds and hawks, and other birds too, will fly into glass, because it’s either reflecting trees nearby or they think they can fly through the building because there is light on the other side,” said Smith.
After several days of rest and recovering, Smith said the bird was able to receive a clean bill of health, and today Galvacky and volunteers from the sanctuary gathered at Bellevue State Park in Wilmington to watch the hawk’s release.
“I’m really happy about what’s been done and the support that Tri-State has given us has been phenomenal,” said Galvacky who snapped pictures as “Frank” swiftly disappeared deep into the park's trees.