Angel: Red-tailed Hawk
Angel, a female Red-Tailed Hawk, was transferred to California Raptor Center in October 1997 from another animal facility. As a juvenile she had flown into Lake San Antonio, sustaining numerous broken feathers. Exams, tests, and X-rays did not reveal any medical problems, so after growing new feathers and receiving flight-line training, she was released in November 1998.
Three weeks later, Angel was found starving on the ground near her release site. She was captured and returned to the raptor center, where she was fed and returned to good health and good weight. Angel was then transferred to a falconer to evaluate her hunting skills, but June 1999 the falconer returned her. She could fly well and dive quickly toward her prey, but she could not land properly—she crashed into the ground at full speed. Her eyes appeared normal, but it was thought she must have a brain lesion that affected her vision. As there is no way to correct her condition, Angel is non-releasable.
Angel was made part of the education program and the taming* process began. But over time, instead of becoming calm, Angel became aggressive. In November 2001, she was taken off taming and she became a display bird in our visitors' area. Here, where she can be seen as a beautiful ambassador for the red-tailed hawk, Angel has settled down, and seems content.
Red-Tailed Hawks are among our most common raptors, and are found across the United States. They present several color variations. Angel has darker and rustier colors than some Red-Tails in our area.
* 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.