MONTEREY COUNTY — SPCA Monterey County Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center rescued a unique hawk on Aug. 11: a 14-year-old leucistic red-tailed hawk.
The hawk was found on the ground in San Benito County. Since San Benito County does not have its own wildlife center, SPCA Monterey County takes in and rehabilitates injured and orphaned wild animals found in that county.
The rescued hawk was thin, unable to stand, and suffering from parasites and a large bruise on his chest. SPCA Wildlife Center technicians provided pain medications, fluids, supplemental heat and supportive care to get him back on his feet.
“What makes him unique is his coloring,” according to SPCA.
Leucism causes partial loss of all types of pigmentation, leading to white coloration on his feathering. Unlike albinism, leucism does not affect the pigment cells in the eyes. He is also on the older side, as red-tailed hawks have a lifespan of up to 20 years.
“We know his exact age as he arrived with a band on his leg, showing us that he hatched in 2009,” stated SPCA. “He was banded by a research biologist in October 2009 in Seal Beach, California.”
After 11 days of specialized care, the hawk recovered and was able to fly and hunt on his own. On Aug. 22, he was released back into the wild where he was found.
The SPCA Wildlife Center is the only full-service wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in Monterey County, rescuing over 2,500 injured, sick and orphaned wild animals every year. Visit spcamc.org to learn how to help.