MIKEY: red-shouldered hawk

Mikey is a Red-Shouldered Hawk
"Adopt" Mikey!

A good samaritan brought Mikey to us in May 1996 after finding the tiny chick on the ground. Mikey's nest had blown out of the tree in a wind storm, Mikey survived, but a second chick in the nest did not. Mikey seemed to be in good physical condition and went to the Raptor Nursery with other baby hawks and owls.

In the nursery, Mikey was fed tiny bits of mouse from tweezers for about a week. Then we noticed that he was missing the food when he tried to bite it. An eye exam showed lesions in his right eye. That eye actually stopped growing and completely disappeared! This meant that Mikey would never be able to see well enough to hunt.

Because of his partial blindness at such a young age, we had to hand-feed him for a very long time. He became "imprinted" on people. This means that Mikey thinks he's a human—he simply doesn't know that he's a hawk or even, perhaps, that he's a bird. He will approach people for food, which can be dangerous not only for Mikey but for people as well. Because of this, as well as his compromised vision, Mikey is non-releasable.

Mikey began the "taming"* process in June 1996. He quickly became quite calm when "on the glove" before an audience. After many years as an excellent educational ambassador, Mikey has been retired from regular programming due to his advancing age.

* Taming is the process of teaching a bird to stay perched on your gloved fist. The bird is fitted with special leather bracelets around the ankles, to which jesses, a swivel, and a leash are attached. This equipment keeps the bird from flying away or from injury if it should become agitated.