Archer - Red Shouldered Hawk
Izzy - Red Tailed Hawk
One breezy, spring day in 2003, a young fledgling Cooper's Hawk decided to try his wings, probably for the first time. This inexperienced bird crash-landed and fractured her left wing near the elbow. As is often typical with this type of injury, the bones did not heal properly causing the wing to freeze at the joint.
At approximately 8 weeks of age, Darter was transferred to The Avian Reconditioning Center for a thorough assessment of his flight abilities. After extensive flight evaluation, our falconer determined the injury was permanent. Even with physical therapy, Darter would never regain full movement of his left wing and would, therefore, be incapable of normal flight.
Fortunately, ARC's staff falconer has extensive experience working with this quick, acrobatic species, and Darter has become a wonderful addition to our family of education birds.
When not working in education programs, Darter spends her days in a large mews where he enjoys basking in the morning sun and bounding from perch to perch for exercise. Darter was named to honor the mascot of the high school in our small town of Apopka (Home of the Blue Darter) where our center is located.
When Archer and his three siblings where just a few weeks old, their nest tree was cut down, and they were all thrown to the ground. They were brought to the Avian Reconditioning Center for help, and while his brothers and sisters were fine, Archer suffered trauma from the fall, and did not have full function in his legs.
While his siblings were getting ready for release, Archer was learning how to stand again. Baby hawks develop fully in 12 weeks, and Archer could barely move, and spent most of his time laying on his chest - not good for a quickly growing hawk. Volunteers at the ARC worked with him every day to make him stand, and use his legs so they could grow stronger again. For a long time, we were unsure if he would survive, and grow to adulthood.
Although the efforts of everyone at ARC payed off, and this little hawk can use his legs, he still does not have full function in his feet. He also suffers from vision problems, probably related to his fall. Unfortunately, this means that Archer cannot be released back into the wild, since his injuries would keep him from hunting the way a hawk needs to in order to survive.
Archer now lives at ARC, and delights visitors to the center with his playful nature and loud vocalizations. He's still a young bird, with juvenile plumage, and it's fun to be able to perch him next to our adult red shouldered hawk - Pierce, and show visitors the difference in coloration.
Because Archer did not damage his wings in the fall, he can still fly - and does short flight demonstrations at ARC on Saturdays. It's fun to watch him fly, and you can see where he gets his nickname - Screamer - from the way he excitedly calls out while he's flying.
Astro- Hatched 2010
Dino- Hatched 2009
Izzy is a beautiful Red-Tailed Hawk, just finishing out her adult plumage and filling out a beautiful red tail.
She was brought to the Avian Reconditioning Center by a thoughtful falconer, who rescued her from a shopping mall. Her left foot was badly mangled, and almost all the bones had been broken. It is thought that she had gotten her foot caught in some sort of a grate trying to grab prey, and had only managed to remove it after doing a lot of damage to the toes and leg.
It was many weeks before it was clear if her foot could be saved. Although she ended up losing one toe, Izzy is now able to stand on her foot, and even perch on the glove. Despite the sometimes stressful medical treatment Izzy had to undergo, she came out of it with a wonderful disposition and is a joy to have at the Avian Reconditioning Center.
Although she cannot be released, as her foot injury leaves her unable to hunt for prey, Izzy can still fly. She's currently going through falconry training, and is beautiful to watch. She's working on doing some short demonstration flights, and we all look forward to the time when Izzy is free-flying around the center!
Astro and Dino are Harris' Hawks, one of the few social bird of prey species. In the wild, Harris' Hawks hunt in a pack, and are sometimes called the Wolves of the Air.
They are a desert bird, and have long skinny scaled legs, perfect for perching on cacti while looking for prey. Their pack hunting methods come in handy in the desert, where a pack of five hawks can more easily take down prey, and sometimes catch larger prey as well. Sometimes, to get a higher perch, the more alpha bird will perch on the back of another Harris' Hawk.
Astro and Dino are at the Avian Reconditioning Center as falconry birds, and enjoy flying together in a cast. Astro is the more senior bird, and treats Dino much like a younger sibling. Sometimes when Dino is called to the glove, Astro will dive in and try to steal his food! These clownish antics make for a great display of flight, and they often fly in the afternoon at ARC, after the other birds are safely put away.
Sable- Short Tailed Hawk
Astro & Dino- Harris' Hawks
Sable is our Short-Tailed hawk, named for the Sable Palm, a commonly found plant in Central Florida.
Sable came to the Avian Reconditioning Center after being gunshot. Initially, it was hoped that she would heal enough to regain the full use of her wing, and be able to be released back into the wild. Since there are not many Short Tailed Hawks living and breeding in Florida, it's very important that the few hawks we have are allowed to live and thrive.
After some inital success with falconry training, Sable began to lose strength, and it was apparent that the strain of flight was too much for her injured wing. Since she was not strong enough to be returned to the wild, Sable has a home here at the Avian Reconditioning Center. On calm days, she is capable of short flights and jumps from one end of the display pavillion to the other, so she still gets a chance to stretch her wings.
Darter - Cooper's Hawk