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Injured Red-Tailed Hawks Soaring Once Again

Original Article By Jason Schreiber Union Leader Correspondent

EPPING — Four red-tailed hawks have been given a new lease on life after they were rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild one after another Tuesday afternoon.

The crowd of spectators with cameras and Fish and Game officers in a field at the Burley Farm on North River Road included New Hampshire Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Rachel Marsan.

She rescued one of the hawks after its head became caught between metal bars on a maintenance platform at the Pease Air National Guard Base in Newington a few months ago.

Marsan said the hawk, which is believed to be about 3, was hanging by its neck when she found it; she believes it likely was stuck for a day or two before it was discovered. Marsan jumped into action to free the raptor.

She grabbed her jacket, wrapped it around the hawk’s wings to prevent further injury, and gently removed it. Marsan and others at the National Guard tracked down Epping-based On the Wing, a raptor rehabilitation facility owned by Jane Kelly.

The hawk has spent the past several weeks in recovery, but was ready to be released Tuesday with another helping hand from Marsan, who held it for a few seconds before it flew off into the trees.

“As a member of the Air National Guard, a key part of our mission is being a steward for the environment,” said Marsan, who grew up in New Hampshire’s northernmost town of Pittsburg. She now lives in Farmington, and is a member of the 157th Maintenance Group at Pease.

Along with the hawk from Pease, Kelly has been working to rehabilitate a 1-year-old hawk hit by a car in Rye and two juvenile hawks found on the ground and rescued.

She said the younger birds, believed to be about 5 months old, were treated for symptoms of West Nile virus. The hawks rescued from Rye and at Pease suffered trauma to their heads and spines.

Kelly said the hawks have been rehabilitated together and the hope is that they will stay together in the wild until the younger ones are ready to head off on their own.

“They’re hunting well and they’re ready to go,” she said. “They’ll have a little bit of time together to get their bearings with the veteran bird and then be on their way.”

Fish and Game conservation officer Graham Courtney and wildlife biologist Patrick Tate were also on hand to help release the birds.

Graham said the experience is always rewarding because not all animals they help can be saved.

“Unfortunately some animals are beyond help, but when you can see an animal that’s having a real tough time and get it to a person like Jane, who knows her business and is able to rehab it where it can be released to the wild, that makes up for all the ones that couldn’t make it or the ones you run through the rain in the middle of the night to try to help out,” he said.

Continue on to the original article by the New Hampshire Union Leader here.


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