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Southeastern Raptor Center to Release Two Hawks Nov. 21 in Opelika

By Janet L. McCoy, (e) mccoyjl@auburn.edu, (p) 334-844-3698

Opelika, Alabama —

The Southeastern Raptor Center will release two red-tail hawks on Thursday, Nov. 21 during Storybook Farm’s Fall Festival in Opelika.

The release of the birds of prey will be at 4 p.m. and the release and event are free to the public.

The two red-tail hawks – one immature with minor soft tissue wounds and the other, an adult who also suffered from soft issue wounds as well as a fungal infection, were treated by staff at the Southeastern Raptor Center, a division of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Once the lab work was normal and the treatment of the infection was completed, the mature bird was placed in a large flight aviary,” said Elizabeth Crandall, assistant director for raptor rehabilitation for the Southeastern Raptor Center. “Initially the bird was unable to extend the right wing completely due to the soft tissue trauma, (but) within three weeks, the bird was flying symmetrically and gaining significant lift.

“After passing several flight exams, the hawk was deemed releasable.”

Because both birds of prey came from within a 60 mile radius of Auburn and Opelika area, the staff decided to release them in Opelika. “The immature hawk has no established territory yet and we believe the adult should return to its wintering territory,” Crandall said.

The Southeastern Raptor Center at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine has a three-fold mission of rehabilitation, education and conservation.