Bucking the stereotypical cat-in-tree rescue trope, Salinas firefighters Thursday safely extracted a very upset red-shouldered hawk that was tangled in fishing line and snared in the canopy above a local walking trail.
Sometime between 8:30 and 9 a.m., a person walking along the trail near Steinbeck Park came across the adult female hawk suspended by fishing line between two large trees and called the SPCA Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center for help.
Upon arrival at the scene, wildlife technician Alexis Evripidou knew she was going to need backup, since the bird was impossible to reach without specialized equipment, according to the center’s content and education manager Dawn Fenton.
“The fire department got out there between 9:30 and 9:45 and it took about 45 minutes for them to kind of get in the right position to actually be able to get up there to her.”
Using a truck and ladder, the fire crew was able to safely and gently bring the tangled raptor down to earth where it was whisked away to the SPCA’s Salinas clinic for and a check-up and overnight evaluation.
The Salinas Firefighters Association posted on social media Thursday:
“We are pleased to have been able to capture this bird for further care and rehabilitation.”
The bird appeared healthy and wasn’t too skinny or dehydrated, Fenton said.
“She didn’t have any broken bones. She’ll probably just have a bit of a sore shoulder from hanging by her wing like that.”
And after receiving a clean bill of health Friday morning, the hawk was successfully released back into the wild near where it was found.
“She flew away beautifully.”
It’s unclear how she became caught up in the fishing line, but no foul play is suspected.
“We do see it from time to time, birds tangled up in trash or fishing line or twine. … We do really want to encourage people to clean up after themselves.”