PURDY, Wash. -- A hawk that was found stunned alongside SR-16 near Purdy is being nursed back to health at a local wildlife center.
Troopers found the hawk Tuesday afternoon around 2 p.m. and brought it over to the West Sound Wildlife Shelter on Bainbridge Island where it was undergoing medical evaluations.
"Usually when we find an animal along the side of the road, we assume it's probably been hit by a car," said Fawn Harris, hospital manager for West Sound Wildlife Center. "Usually with hawks, what they're doing is hunting along side the roadway and then they don't see the car coming and then it was clipped."
Harris said all things considered the hawk appears to be doing OK.
"It's still in guarded condition, but looking well and bright and alert today so that's a very good sign," Harris said.
The staff at the center will treat the hawk over the next week or two for pain and inflammation -- this particular hawk looks like it was struck in the head, Harris said. But treating the birds takes a lot of care and patience.
"Wild birds pretty much assume we're going to eat them all the time so they can be very stressful," Harris said. "We do a lot of different things to try to decrease stress so we try to keep our hospital really quiet all the time and we make sure to cover their eyes and head a lot of the time when we're working with them so that they're not seeing because we are predators to them, and that would be very scary to have a bunch of predators looking at them all the time."
Once treated, the hawk will transition to an outdoor enclosure to make sure it's getting around as it should.
"Then it will go to our flight cage, which is about 100 feet long and assess that it has long flight, both horizontal and vertical," Harris said. "And then we will prey-test it and make sure it can catch life prey before it's able to go out and be released."
It's all in a day's work at the center, where they treat up to 1,400 animals a year - 53 percent of which are birds and a majority of those who have been struck by vehicles.
"We do see quite a bit of patients like this every year," Harris said.
If you ever hit a large bird, Harris says to give them a call right away. If it's a smaller bird like a hawk, they'll try to help you get it properly contained to bring to them. If it's a larger bird like an eagle, they'll send a staff member or wildlife agent out to rescue the bird.