Hawk chicks removed from nest after attack

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PITTSBURGH (AP) – A pair of red-tailed hawk chicks was removed from their Pittsburgh nest after the parents attacked a woman who lives nearby.


A volunteer helped the Pennsylvania Game Commission take possession Wednesday of the baby hawks, which will be raised and released in the wild. Local high school principal and falconer Jeff Finch climbed an 80-foot tree to reach the nest.


“They were able to stand and be a little defensive, but for the most part, (they) didn’t overreact, stood real nice and were cooperative,” Finch told local media. The 2-foot-wide nest was made of twigs and lined with pine needles.


Jim Bonner, executive director of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, said it was an unusual situation and that the Pennsylvania Game Commission decided removal was best for the chicks and the people in the area. He said the adult hawks will now likely abandon the nest.


The relocation was a relief to Eileen Bridge. She is still nursing a black eye and cuts and bruises after one of the parents dive-bombed her. Bridge said she was washing her car outside her Pittsburgh home on Saturday when a red-tailed hawk flew right at her head and knocked her unconscious. She said it felt like being hit by a baseball bat. Other area residents companied about close calls with the hawks, too.


“It could have been a lot worse,” Bridge said.


Authorities said red-tailed hawks tend to have a single mate and to return to the same nest each spring, so this one was destroyed to prevent that. The 5-week-old chicks will be taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center, said Game Commission Officer Dan Puhala.


“They’re going to be raised in a setting where they won’t get imprinted on humans, and they’ll be released back into the wild,” Puhala said.


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