Broad-winged Hawk #16-2175

Admission Date: 
September 27, 2016
Release Date: 
April 15, 2017
Location of Rescue: 
Albemarle County, Virginia
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Fractured wing
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On September 27, an adult Broad-winged Hawk was found on the ground, unable to fly, near Beaver Creek Reservoir in Albemarle County. The hawk was transported to the Wildlife Center by outreach department volunteer Pam, shortly after the hawk was discovered.

Hawk #16-2175 was perching in its crate prior to the initial assessment and appeared bright and alert. A physical exam revealed retinal tears in both eyes, swelling on the left wing, and a wound on the right leg.

Radiographs showed a left metacarpal fracture near the wrist; because the fracture is close to the joint, surgical repair is not an option and the vet team will treat the injury conservatively. The wing was splinted and wrapped in the bandage to stabilize the fracture and assist with healing.


    Anatomy of an avian wing (metacarpal bone in green)                      Broad-winged Hawk radiographs. 

Vet staff will repeat radiographs on October 4 to assess how the fracture is healing. If the bird is healing well, the staff will begin laser therapy and physical therapy.

Broad-winged Hawks migrate from and through Virginia during later summer and early fall. By the end of October, migration is complete, and Broad-winged Hawk patients cannot be released. Because this patient will require care beyond the migration period, hawk #16-2175 will overwinter at the Wildlife Center.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide specialized veterinary medical care to this Broad-winged Hawk … and all of the patients admitted in 2016. Please help!


April 25, 2017

In early April, Broad-winged Hawk #16-2175 continued to improve during daily exercise. The hawk's stamina increased and the bird was approved for release.

On April 15, Wildlife Center volunteer Pam Rossetter and the hawk's initial rescuers released the hawk on a farm in Crozet, Virginia.

March 14, 2017

Broad-winged Hawk #16-2175 spent the winter resting and healing at the Center. On March 3, the hawk was moved to a larger flight pen to begin daily exercise and flight conditioning in preparation for release this spring. Broad-winged Hawk patients aren't released before April 1; the rehabilitation staff is conditioning the hawk now so she can be prepared for release as soon as possible.

During the past ten days, the hawk has been consistently making five to six passes end-to-end in the flight pen. The staff and students have noticed a slight left-wing droop, but hope the hawk's strength and stamina will improve with continued exercise.

December 27, 2016

Broad-winged Hawk #16-2175 is still receiving care from the Wildlife Center's veterinary team. Radiographs on October 14 showed that the hawk's wing was healing well enough for the bird to be moved to a larger enclosure. On October 20, the hawk was moved from a cage to a small enclosure in the Center's B-pen Complex. The hawk's appetite improved tremendously once living in an outdoor enclosure. The hawk consistently eats nearly all of its offered food.

During November, hawk #16-2175 was exercised daily by the rehabilitation team. The hawk was not flying very well and had poor stamina. Because the hawk will spend the winter at the Wildlife Center and will not be released for several more months, daily exercise was discontinued and will be resumed when release is imminent. The bird is currently housed in one of the smaller outdoor enclosures; the larger flight pens are reserved for birds who are being conditioned for release. Being housed in a smaller space will allow for the hawk to move around freely but will give the wing time to heal and hopefully help improve the hawk's stamina and flight performance in the spring.

In late November, Broad-winged Hawk #16-2175 showed early signs of bumblefoot --inflammation and wounds on its foot pads. The rehabilitation staff changed the perches in the hawk's enclosure to offer varied substrates for perching; often, offering a wider variety of perches can improve or halt the progression of bumblefoot. The veterinary staff have been monitoring the bird's feet and will continue to check the patient's feet during bi-weekly foot-and-feather checks.

October 11, 2016

On October 6, the vet staff began physical therapy and laser therapy (performed every other day) on the left wing of Broad-winged Hawk #16-2175. The hawk has consistently reach 80-85% extension in the left wing, however showed signs of discomfort during the most recent session of physical therapy.

The vet staff will monitor the progress of the hawk's wing injury, and repeat radiographs are scheduled for late October to assess healing of the left metacarpal bone.

Hawk #16-2175 was not eating well while housed in the Center's "hold" area in the hospital. To make the bird more comfortable, the patient was moved away from the activity of the hospital to a cage in an outdoor building on October 7. Since moving, the bird's appetite has improved.