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Red-tailed Hawk shot

Radiograph is of a red tail that has been shot.

It is against state and federal laws to shoot a raptor.  SHRR is required to report any raptor that has been shot, although it is very difficult to track down the perpetrator.

This bird was lucky.  Since just the ulna was broken and the radius is intact, the radius acts like a splint and keeps the ulna relatively stable until the ulna heals.  The wing is also wrapped to the bird's body to keep the fracture even more stable as it heals.  Daily physical therapy consists of unwrapping the wing, gently extending and flexing the wing several times to keep the ligaments and tendons from contracting and also to keep the ulna from healing to the radius as the fracture heals.

Birds' bones heal amazingly well.  After 3 weeks of keeping the wing wrapped, the bird is then placed in a small mew, an outside pen, that allows the bird to stretch its wings completely but limits its flying.  After a week or two in the small mew, the bird is moved to a larger flight pen where it can fly more.  To get it back into athletic condition to be able to hunt well, extensive creance flying is done.

This bird did great and was released back into the wild.