Red-Tail Recovery

When this red-tailed hawk first came in Nov. 28, 2008, he was bleeding from the mouth and suffering from both soft tissue damage and dehydration. His right wing was drooping, and while we initially suspected a broken bone, we soon found trauma beneath his wing. The skin around his “armpit” was torn open.

We began cleaning his wound with a bird-friendly disinfectant and applied a bandage. In a few weeks’ time, however, the routine cleaning of his wound abruptly came to a halt.

A white, mold-like growth began to cover the area we’d been cleaning, soon followed by patches of a greenish mold. We immediately started using an anti-fungal applied directly to his wound. But it wasn’t until we began using tea tree oil – an essential oil – that the fungus began clearing up. It took us weeks of special care – unwrapping his bandage, carefully removing patches of fungus and applying tea tree oil, then rewrapping his wing – to get his back on his feet… or wings. The fungus is now completely gone, after four weeks of specifically treating it.

A week ago we moved him into the flight cage where he could practice flying and regain his strength. He is flying beautifully and is likely to be released back into the wild soon.


  1. Unknown on March 14, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    I was not aware that tea tree could be used to treat fungus. Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing this story!

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