Short-tailed hawk released into wild after being weakened during Hurricane Irma

As residents were cleaning up in Cudjoe Key, where Hurricane Irma made landfall last month, people in one neighborhood realized humans weren't the only ones who needed help.

Denise Cameron, Terry and Phil McGann and the McGanns' dogs, Pipper and Nikki, discovered a lethargic-looking short-tailed hawk on Sawyer Drive. When the dogs ran up to the hawk, it barely moved. That seemed to be a sign of trouble.

The McGanns were going to donate an extra cat carrier to a shelter, but instead used it for the bird. 

Local 10's Janine Stanwood and her husband, Michael, were in Cudjoe to help with the cleanup, and agreed to transport the hawk. They took it to the Marathon Wild Bird Center, an all-volunteer organization that rehabilitates a large selection of birds in the Keys. 

Rudy Brancel, a raptor specialist there, said the hawk was likely weakened in the hurricane.

"We think that he probably just got beat up in some weather -- got blown down in the storm, missed a couple of meals, got weak and just didn't recover," Brancel said.

Brancel said that after a week of eating mice and getting stronger, the hawk was ready for release on Saturday.

After being taken out of its large cage and placed on the ground, the hawk initially struck a pose with its wings expanded. In seconds, with the help of a gust of wind, the hawk was airborne.

"That was the first bird release in the center since the hurricane," Brancel said. "These guys don't come in too often, so it's kind of cool for us, as well as you guys, to watch this release because we don't see many go up. It's a good thing."

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.