There is a beauty in the way Martin, the guy rescuing these birds of prey, behaves and in the way he handles the birds. He’s incredibly practical and down-to-earth and he knows his birds back to front. He’s been doing this for 50 years. He handles them quite firmly, almost roughly but he has to be firm because these birds can hurt people. And these birds of prey are frightened when rescued because they live in the wild and never have contact with a human. So all of a sudden they’re being handled by one. This is why the bird’s mouth is constantly open. It is a sign of fear.
This beautiful red-tailed hawk had lice all over its body. Martin applies a spray to kill the parasite. The reason why the lice had developed so extensively was because the hawk was starving and underweight. It had become weak and under these circumstances parasites tend to procreate more because they are about to lose their host. That’s, in so many words, how Martin described it. Lice eat dander but can also eat the feathers if the bird is ill.
In part of the video you will see him talking about the hawk with students. He actually allows the young man to release the bird back into the wild after he has fed it. He gives the birds fluids by injecting it straight into the bird’s stomach through a tube. He also stuffed what appear to be whole rodents, perhaps mice, into the bird’s mouth which the bird then swallowed whole.
An interesting part of this video, which gives a very clean feel about the landscape where he works, is that red-tailed hawks get scratched on their claws by squirrels. The hawk grabs a squirrel in its talons and the squirrel nips and bites the bird’s feet. This injures the birds but I suppose they treated it as part of the business of survival.
In an earlier post I showed a video of Martin rescuing an eagle suffering from the same health condition: starvation. That bird could not be saved. He had gone too far down the road of death so despite feeding the bird in the same way as I have described above the bird died in the morning after a night trying to save it.