Hawk Rescued With ‘Arrow Skewering His Body,’ Believed Intentional
A red-tailed hawk, presumed to have been intentionally wounded with an arrow, is fighting for its life after being rescued on Friday, April 9.
Without the help of Newtown resident Diane Costallos and her 10-year-old daughter, Aspen, the bird likely would not have been able to receive the time-sensitive and necessary help it needed.
Two days before its rescue, on Wednesday, Costallos and Aspen were in the car around 5 pm, on their way to Newtown High School, when Costallos noticed a hawk on Boggs Hill Road.
“We were driving, and I said, ‘Aspen, look at that beautiful hawk.’ It was so pretty, so majestic sitting on the low branch,” she recalled.
Having only glanced over for a quick moment, Costallos continued driving, unaware of its injury.
As an animal lover, Costallos says she is always pointing out wildlife to her daughters and is known by those close to her for always helping turtles safely cross the road, and braking for deer and geese.
It was her young daughter, though, who noticed something was not right with the hawk. Aspen was adamant that she saw an arrow sticking out of it and that they needed to turn around to help it.
Costallos rationalized it was most likely a feather askew but turned the car around to check.
Sure enough, upon arriving back to where they spotted the bird it was still there with an arrow clearly through it.
“It was sitting there on the branch as if it were perched anywhere else, but this arrow was going through its leg and out the back between its shoulder blades. It was unreal… he must had been in too much pain to be afraid. He was looking at me then turned his back on me,” Costallos said.
Prepared with different animal rescue numbers in her phone, she left messages for Christine’s Critters Inc and the Newtown Animal Control Center. Feeling it was a time-sensitive situation, she contacted the Newtown Police Department next and they were able to dispatch Suada Likovic from Animal Control.
Costallos and her daughter stayed with the bird to keep an eye on it and were able to be there when Likovic arrived on the scene.
Unfortunately, as they were trying to rescue the hawk, it flew away and onto a branch out of reach.
“We were shocked that he could fly,” Costallos said.
Costallos and her daughter left that night, but it did not stop them from wondering what had happened to the injured hawk.
It ‘Takes A Village’
Newtown Animal Control Officer Carolee Mason praises Costallos and Aspen for their good deed reaching out for help when they saw the hawk.
“If she didn’t turn around, the hawk could have never been found,” Mason said.
In addition to Likovic’s work, Mason also went out to the site the next day, after the hawk was reportedly spotted around 7 pm.
“I drove out there and didn’t see it… I tried everything,” Mason said. “I put red-tailed hawk sounds on my phone.”
When news spread about the hawk, Mason received an e-mail suggesting she get in contact with Bent of the River Audubon Center in Southbury. The organization is a nature sanctuary and education center that supports a variety of plants and animals, including birds.
From there, Mason spoke to a representative about the hawk, who then spread the word for more outreach.
“In about 15 minutes, I got a call from John White,” Mason said.
White, she explained, is a local falconer who offered to go out looking for the bird in the area of Boggs Hill Road and Palestine Road.
“He went out there and within a half an hour he called me saying, ‘I have the bird,’” Mason explained.
White brought the wounded hawk to Christine’s Critters Inc, and it was then taken to South Wilton Veterinary Group for medical attention.
Mason says that according to the veterinarian, the hawk’s injuries were about a week old.
“[The arrow] went into the leg and broke the femur — but the femur healed because the arrow acted like a splint,” Mason said. “And it’s got a few infections that they are worried about.”
On April 10, Christine’s Critters Inc posted an update about the hawk to its Facebook page.
It detailed, “He made it through the night. He is very critical and no one honestly knows whether he will survive this trauma. His wounds are very serious, and infection is a huge concern.
“He will not self-feed, but this morning we were able to assist-feed him while we had him out to care for his wounds and medicate him.
“This is a ‘moment by moment’ case. We wish we could give everyone a better idea of his prognosis, but having an arrow skewering his body for almost a week took a real toll on him. We just ask that good thoughts continue to head his way.
“Thanks to all the people that saw, cared, and acted, this bird at least has a chance to try to fight this. It truly takes a village.”
Christine’s Critters Inc posted an update on April 12 that the hawk had eaten on his own, without assistance, which is a major milestone for his recovery.
Since 1918, hawks and other birds of prey have been protected in the United States under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, making it illegal to hunt, trap, cage, shoot, poison, or kill them.
Mason says that the arrow that was removed from the injured red-tailed hawk is currently with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
The DEEP is investigating the matter because it is believed that the bird was intentionally shot.
“If anyone knows anything about it, they can call the DEEP,” Mason said.
Costallos encourages any one with information to come forward, as she, too, believes the act of violence against the bird was not an accident, saying, “It was very intentional and very, very cruel.”
If you have more information about the wounded hawk in Newtown, call the DEEP at 860-424-3011 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. People can also call the Newtown Animal Control Center at 203-426-6900 for cases involving injured animals.