Bruce Rodrigues, an ecosystem management ecologist with the Department of Environment and Conservation, holds the goshawk after getting it out of its box to be released Monday.
— Star photo by Geraldine Brophy
ORNER BROOK When Tina Skinner heard a loud thump and saw a large, motionless bird lying on the ground outside her window early one morning about a month ago, she thought for sure the winged creature was done for.
She immediately asked her husband to go out and get rid of the animal before their four-year-old twins got out of bed and got a fright at the sight.
When her husband Darryl went out with a box to retrieve the bird, it looked up at him and blinked its eyes.
They left the bird alone and, eventually, it got up and started walking around their backyard. When it never flew away, they figured it had injured a wing in the collision with the window of their house. Rather than watch the bird suffer, they called the local wildlife office. Bruce Rodrigues, an ecosystem management ecologist with the Department of Environment and Conservation, came to check it out.
He identified the bird as a northern goshawk and made a diagnosis of what he thought was wrong with it.
“Bruce told us it didn’t have a hurt wing at all,” said Skinner. “It had a concussion and that’s why it was just walking around in circles.”
Skinner admitted to not knowing what kind of bird it was. She thought it looked like the peregrine falcon she remembered from the little bit of bird-watching she had done years ago.
“So, my kids were calling it Perry the peregrine,” she joked about her inaccurate initial identification of the bird of prey.
Rodrigues told the Skinners that he would take ‘Perry’ and have the injured goshawk transported to the Salmonier Nature Park in eastern Newfoundland, where injured animals are sometimes taken to see if they can be rehabilitated.
“Bruce told us that the bird would be kept at the nature park if it could not be rehabilitated to the point where it could be released back into the wild,” she said.
On Monday, Rodrigues called Skinner and told her that the bird had recovered and he would be releasing it in her backyard later in the day.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Skinner before the early evening release. “It’s great that our kids will get to see that this bird got better and will be released where it was found. It’s also nice to know that our wildlife people care so much about the animals in our environment that they would do this.”