From the rattling and jerking coming from inside the cage Kevin Gleason is carrying, you get the impression the hawk inside is impatient to get out.
That’s why you expect the bird to blast out from the pet-carrier type cage when Gleason, a Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society volunteer, opens the door.
But with a photographer standing well back, and Gleason gingerly opening the cage door, the immature red-tailed hawk merely hops out and takes a few bold strides onto the football field at Timberline School.
The bird stands and surveys the territory from the ground while a seagull nearby immediately begins squeaking out an alarm.
After the pause, the hawk takes off across the football field and lands on the bare branch of a large tree on the edge of a stand of forest.
“Look at that eh?” Gleason said after releasing the bird. “That seagull knows he’s around, eh? Look at that, that’s beautiful.”
Then the bird’s liberator and the curious photographer leave it to find its way back to the wild.
The bird was released Tuesday afternoon near where it was hit by a vehicle on Dogwood Street, Jan. 18. A member of the public found the bird on the Simms Creek bridge and called the RCMP.
The RCMP dog handler attended first and with leather gloves, collected the bird off the road, wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in a box.
The bird was turned over to another police officer who waited while Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society volunteer Gleason picked up the bird and took it to the society’s recovery facility in Merville.
There the bird was tube-fed to restore its strength. Luckily, the society had another immature red-tailed hawk from Powell River being rehabbed to keep the Campbell River bird company, Gleason said.
“What was so nice about this was the public was involved and contacted the RCMP who took some time out of their busy schedule,” Gleason said. “Here he is after all the volunteer efforts and rehab, he’s ready to go.”
The bird was emaciated and weak when he arrived at MARS but put on 600 grams during his rehabilitation and was judged ready to be released.