Richmond Wildlife Center Re-Nests Red-Shouldered Hawk Nestling with Help of Local Fire Department

The Richmond Wildlife Center received a call about a Red-Shouldered Hawk nestling which had fallen from its nest within an Oak Tree upon the property of a private residence in Bon Air. Our field rescue team responded to the call and arrived on scene to assess the situation and state of the nestling. The nest was over 50 ft in the air and preliminary examination revealed no injuries of significance. Given the late hour of the evening and the impending darkness, Patient #13-0127, was brought back to the Richmond Wildlife Center’s medical facility for full examination and assessment.


Staff Volunteer Veterinarian, Dr. April Rice, arrived after hours to assess the Red-Shouldered Hawk. After a thorough physical examination this nestling was cleared by both our wildlife rehabilitator and Dr. April Rice for re-nesting the next morning. The nestling was hand-fed a mouse and kept warm and quiet overnight in preparation for its re-nesting the next morning.

Founder, Executive Director and Wildlife Rehabilitator, Melissa Stanley, worked to secure access to a ladder or bucket truck to assist with reaching the nest over 50ft in the air.

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Chesterfield County Fire Department, Station 9, agreed to assist our wildlife center and this young nestling hawk. We would like to pause to thank the Chesterfield County Fire Department and the firemen of Station 9 who generously assisted.



Firefighters and Wildlife Center staff conferred to address both the overhead lines as well as the protocols for handling and re-nesting of the hawk. Once a strategy was in place, both teams prepared for the re-nesting.

Once the ladder was positioned our team quickly realized the box the hawk was in would be too cumbersome to carry up the ladder. Our Executive Director called to a field rescue volunteer to retrieve her designer handbag from the car and dump its contents. Her purse was then utilized to carry the hawk in and up the ladder, back to its nest.

P1020288The veteran firefighters drew straws and the Rookie headed up the ladder with our nestling hawk in tow. 

As the firefighter neared the nest, the mother hawk flew off.

The nestling was successfully placed back in the nest with its siblings. There are three other nestlings. They were quite surprised to see their first human at their nest and so close.

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The property owner and neighboring residents were instructed to keep watch for the return of the mother. We have since received an update and the mother has not only returned to feed her young, but has also been seen bringing additional sticks back to reinforce her nest. Success!

Many thanks to our wildlife center volunteers, wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians, field rescue response team, Chesterfield County Fire Department and the property owners. This was a success because of you.


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