From road kill to soaring free: Helping human hands aid injured hawk

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A red-shouldered hawk is lucky to be alive thanks to a Foresthill couple that spotted the bird dazed and in danger on Foresthill Road last month. Tom and Sue Stanley were in separate vehicles traveling toward Auburn when Tom caught sight of the raptor sitting unsteadily on the white fog-line, with vehicles whizzing by at 55 mph. The retired millworker quickly stopped and was soon being aided by his wife, a retired Coherent employee. An anonymous county roads maintenance employee soon joined in to help. The rescue group Wild Things was contacted and it was able to secure the aide of the Gold Country Wildlife Service. On Tuesday, the Stanleys watched in joy and amazement as a lucky and very lively hawk was released near the spot it was found, at the Old Foresthill Road turnoff about 3 miles east of Auburn. The bird quickly flew to a nearby tree and then joined a quartet of vultures drafting on the cool morning breeze. “This is one of the greatest days of my life,” Bob Stanley said, with a smile a mile wide. Tuesday’s raptor rescue was one of the hundreds the non-profit, all-volunteer group does each year. Last year, the organization took in more than 1,300 animals. Kari Freidig, a wildlife rehabilitator from Auburn, specializes in raptors and helped bring the hawk the Stanleys found back around. The male bird had a head injury, possibly from being hit by a car, Freidig said. The hawk received anti-inflammatory medication, plenty of rest and fluids before being judged sound enough to return to the wild. “We knew he was feeling good when his natural defensiveness returned,” Freidig said. “He was biting and fighting.” The plan from the start was to return the hawk to a place near where he was found to be able to return to his former home territory. That took place Tuesday, just more than a week after it nearly lost its life. “He probably has established territory here and this is the best scenario for success,” Freidig said. ------------------------------------------------------