Injured hawk is proof that man can't fix everything

As I read the two recent articles on the red tail hawk that was shot and then euthanized, I did not see any mention of Wildlife Images, the go-to wild bird hospital and rehab center. For decades, injured birds, especially raptors, were automatically taken there by Oregon State Police. I am concerned that the "ODFW officials" that were reported as evaluating the hawk may not have the expertise to tell if the injury was survivable. If it was, even if it could not fly again, the hawk perhaps could have become a specimen for some educational program.

— Jan, Central Point

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Steve Niemela says the wounded hawk was an example of how the agency's view on wild animals doesn't always mesh with everyone's idea of how best to deal with injured wildlife.

The hawk in question suffered a "pretty severe" injury, and it clearly appeared that it would not fly again, Niemela says. Animals injured to a point where they clearly can't be returned to the wild are normally euthanized under normal veterinary guidelines for which biologists are trained.

"The agency view is wild animals are meant to be wild animals," Niemela says. "We just don't have the capacity to heal everything. Nature is harsh."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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