Helping a Hawk Fly Free Again

Medical advances take place daily not only for humans but also for animals too. And it seems that birds also can benefit from new techniques to help them return to a more normal life even in the wild. This was the case at the New England Wildlife Center recently where a red-tailed hawk was brought in with severely damaged feathers so that she could no longer fly.

Dr. Adamski, the center's veterinarian there along with his vet technicians set about to change that grim future for the hawk. The procedure they performed to help the hawk fly again is called "imping". This is the process of taking feathers from a deceased “donor bird” and epoxying them into the feather shafts of a live bird, who is in need of feather repair. In this case, the “donor” red-tail hawk arrived dead at New England Wildlife Center after being shot.

In order to complete this procedure, the staff and interns bought a live bamboo plant and cut strips from the woody portion of the plant. These strips were then dried over night and pressed between two pieces of construction paper with two heavy books placed on top. During the procedure, it was these bamboo strips that were inserted into the shaft of the donor feather and then into the shaft of the patient.

The hawk in the video is the bird who actually received the donated feathers. She is now doing very well now and will soon be released back into the wild. She will then be able to live a normal life as a red-tailed hawk which is pretty amazing to think about.

VIDEO Imping

Responses to "Wounded Red-tail hawk receives donor feathers so it can fly again (Video)"

  1. J.kersey says:

    Will the Hawk be able to reproduce these new feathers where you inserted donated feathers? I am assuming the Hawk will. Thank God you are able to help.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As long as the follicle wasn't damaged, then yes. Next summer it will drop out the old repaired feathers and grow a new, perfect feathers!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your compassion and skill. I did not know this was possible. Beautiful to see.

  4. worthy of great appreciation

  5. Anonymous says:

    Nice for someone to Help.

  6. Anonymous says:

    so beautiful to see your gentleness in giving this beautiful regal hawk new flight..humanity at its best thank you

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