- Title: More than 100 overheated baby hawks flee their nests in Oregon
- Date: 12th July 2021
- Summary: PENDLETON, OREGON, UNITED STATES (JULY 12, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF BLUE MOUNTAIN WILDLIFE, LYNN TOMPKINS, SAYING: "On June 28th, we had temperatures of 115, 117 and it was just too hot and baby birds were bailing out of their nests like crazy. And specifically it was Swainson's hawks and Cooper's hawks, mostly Cooper's. We had over 100 come in in like three days just because of the heat and they were too young to be out of the nest. So they mostly were downy babies, so had no ability to get back up. And a lot of them probably would have been OK. And we try to get people to, like, turn on a sprinkler or put out a pan of water. But people want to help and rescue things. So we ended up with like, 100 birds in a really short period of time. And they're doing fine now. Some of them were injured, about a quarter, and they had fractures, multiple fractures, from falling 50, 60 feet to the ground. And so unfortunately, those had to be euthanized, but the rest of them are doing fine. And we're making plans now to get them back out using a method called hacking, where we basically kind of replicate what the parents do as far as getting them returned to the wild."
- Embargoed: 26th July 2021 21:28
- Keywords: Blue Mountain Wildlife Cooperâ€™s hawks Swainsonâ€™s hawks baby hawks climate hawks heat wave
- Location: PENDLETON, OREGON, UNITED STATES
- City: PENDLETON, OREGON, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Environment,Nature/Wildlife,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA002ELJCEO7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: In the midst of a record breaking heatwave in late June in Pendleton, Oregon, more than 100 baby birds bailed from their nests.
"They were too young to be out of the nest," Lynn Tompkins said, executive director of wildlife rehabilitation center Blue Mountain Wildlife. "They mostly were downy babies, so had no ability to get back up."
The center was inundated with calls from concerned citizens.
"We try to get people to turn on a sprinkler or put out a pan of water," Tompkins said. "But people want to help and rescue things. So we ended up with like, 100 birds in a really short period of time."
Tompkins said about three quarters of the birds are doing fine, but some of them had multiple fractures from falling "50, 60 feet to the ground. And so unfortunately, those had to be euthanized. About 13 were put down.
More than 50 Swainson's and Cooper's hawks are being returned to the wild in a method called hacking, where the center replicates what their parents do to reach their hunting potential.
In her more than 30 years working in wildlife rehabilitation, Tompkins said she has never seen anything like this.
"This situation was totally unprecedented," she said. "I can't remember having temperatures of 115 several days in a row either. This in June, July, they just couldn't deal with it other than bailing out of their nest to try to escape the heat."
Tompkins asked for people in the community to put out water and turn on their sprinklers for the baby birds going forward.
"The reason they were coming out, it was so hot," she said. "Almost all of them, the parents were still there, and we really hate to take babies of any kind away from their parents because they're the most qualified to take care of them. Put some water out, turn on a sprinkler and keep them there, that's the best thing. They're welcome to call, but just don't assume they need to be rescued because sometimes we're just kidnapping and we don't want to do that."
Two-thirds of bird species in North America, already disappearing at an alarming rate, face extinction unless immediate action is taken to slow the rate of climate change, according to the National Audubon Society. If the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming isn't slowed, 389 out of 604 species in North America will face extinction, a report by the conservation group said.
"The part of my brain that knows climate change is real says this could be our future," Tompkins said. "I'm hopeful that for this specific event, it was just a convergence of things all at the same time that made it as bad, because we've never seen anything like this before. So hopefully, next year won't be the same. But I know that with climate change and the extreme heat and increasing heat, things like this are going to be more likely."
Tompkins said she is grateful for the donations coming in, which are going towards the center's food costs. In a typical year, they spend about $60,000. But with the influx of baby hawks, which are voracious eaters of quail and mice, this year's bill will be well over $100,000.
(Production: Roselle Chen)
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