Red-tail Hawksicle

When we lifted this bird up to examine him late one afternoon last week he was motionless, his feathers caked with snow and ice. He’d been found weak in a snow bank with severe hypothermia, his mate in a nearby tree.

Have you been following his story on Facebook?

We immediately got to work thawing him out, using hot washcloths to melt the ice off and towels to dry his feathers. Once the ice was removed we put him in a small enclosure with a heat pad to warm him up. Despite the fact that he was rather thin, we did not give the usual round of fluids so as not to shock him system further.

Happily he was warm and dry the next morning, and looking alert. He eagerly ate the solid food we offered after four days on a fluid diet. We hope to get him to an outdoor enclosure within the next couple of days to increase his strength for life back in the wild. Check out VINS’ Facebook page for photos of his mate.


  1. Anonymous on February 5, 2011 at 5:14 am

    thank goodness he was found surprised he was stuck in a snow bank though

  2. Anonymous on February 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    My dog sniffed something on the snow surface with a small amount of snow covering on it. It was a dead red tail hawk. I felt terrible to see it, and I wondered if it had frozen to death. There were no signs of wounds, etc.

  3. VINS on February 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    It is not uncommon in harsh winters for first-year raptors to succumb to starvation. Especially in years with multiple strong weather events (like the snow of this year), following a good spring with a bumper rodent population the raptor numbers are inflated. While, it is always hard to see one of nature's creatures meet an untimely end, species like red-tailed hawks have a less than 50% chance of surviving their first year.

  4. Anonymous on February 17, 2011 at 2:26 am

    Poor guy! Thanks for the update katie!

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