Do you believe that animals can communicate with us? Sure they don't speak our language but there is a universal language that some of us are blessed to understand. Sometimes there are those who learn this language from an encounter with an animal. I don't mean "doggy has to go out and pee" or "kitty wants treat" or "Polly wants a cracker". How about a cry for help from a wild animal? An animal for the most part that wants absolutely nothing to do with us, an animal that fears us and stays well away, high in the sky or up a tree. I had such an encounter as this last weekend. A small role in the story anyway.
Sunday afternoon Toronto Wildlife put a couple shout outs to the volunteer list. One being a Muskrat and the second being a Red-tailed Hawk. The animals in distress were mere blocks from each other and very close to our home. Angie was watching the last few innings of the Blue Jays game before dinner and I made mention of this need for a driver, not asking if I could do it, but talked about helping even though it will probably delay our supper. Of course she was all supportive, I called in my assistance and was the first to respond so away I went.
I first picked up the Muskrat from a No Frills store in Bloor West Village. Two guys had quite the adventure trapping this animal along Bloor Street. Finally containing it in one very smelly waste bin. Unfortunately one of the individuals felt the wrath of this animal and ended up seeking medical assistance. I don't know much else about the ordeal. I was happy for it's containment although the smell of the trash can had me gagging in the GMC. Funny thing is our friend Mirella was working at a store where all of this was taking place, she saw much of the chase from the window. Small world, eh.
From there I drove a few blocks west to the address where the Red-tailed Hawk was at. A big beautiful house that sits on a hill overlooking the valley and marshland off South Kingsway, very near Lake Ontario. I believe it is called "South Humber Park".
I arrive to the house and am greeted by the couple who live there. I get the whole story from the husband about the bird before I am led to it.
They were having a late afternoon gathering when they noticed a large bird staring in the sun room door at them. Peculiar thing it was for them. After a short bit the man went outside and basically picked up this bird, carried it to the back of the property and set it on the gate or the ground by the gate. "Be gone with you Mr. Bird, we have a dinner party going on!" Something like that anyway.
As he walks back to the house, this Hawk starts to hop along following him. He goes inside and moments later the bird is back at the large windowed door looking in at him.
There may have been a pause, the eyes of both beings connecting through the glass and then it hits the man, there is something wrong with this bird, it needs help. He then brought the bird into the house and called Toronto Wildlife.
I was told the bird was contained. I always have a kitty carrier in the back of the truck and good thing I did, because the bird was not contained other than being in their home now.
I wish I took a photo of him at first sight. He was standing there, looking out the window to the backyard. He looked very tired. I tried to find anything that could remind of the moment and this is about as close as I could get, too bad it's not of a Hawk.
The man and I both were looking down at the bird. He and his wife were rather nonchalant about it which may have been due to the alcohol. No they weren't drunk but I'm sure had a bit of a relaxed glow about them. There was a small audience of onlookers behind us, peering in through the doorway, all holding cocktails and silently watching. I'm sure they were all wondering what was going to happen next. And hoping I could get this bird out of the sun room so they could enjoy it themselves.
The man tried to instruct me on how to handle the bird, which he just learned how to do. It was something I already knew from the years of monitoring Peregrine Falcons when the juvis take their first flights. Gently place your hands around the body, keeping their wings up to their bodies to prevent any injury. I politely explained to him that I am well aware of the procedure through training, thanked him anyway and took control of the situation.
There was no fuss from the Hawk. He went willingly. I brought myself down to put him within the carrier. As I began to put him inside it, letting my grip go of him, he walked in on his own. Standing there for a moment before lying down.
Last words with the couple, thank you for caring, etc. It's funny the reactions from people when they realize I'm a volunteer. I get no money for my time, no reimbursement for the gas. Not everyone understands the feelings to my soul for helping animals in need.
I took the bird out to the truck. I opened the back and set him in. I was about to put a towel over the carrier when I noticed the wound on the back of the bird's head. I knew it was there but I now had a good look at it when I really was not intending to. It stood out to me. My heart just sank. A big gaping wound and there were things crawling around in the wound, maggots of some sort I guess. The Hawk had his head tucked under his wing which gave me a full view of the wound.
Who knows what happened? I'm unsure of the Hawk's state at this time, I only hope he is still alive and recovering. And I do wonder about the man who finally "listened" to this bird. Does he realize what happened? Will he remember this in the years to come? Will he answer the call if another animal speaks to him?
I have no images of the bird, no photos were taken. I borrowed this from a Google search and I can credit the artist, his name is Steve Goad and he shared this on DeviantArt. I used to love visiting this site. It is overflowing with beautiful art of all varieties.