Hawk receives new wings at Raptor Center

5:19 PM, Oct 28, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Two weeks ago a young red-tailed hawk flew into a window near downtown St. Paul and suffered trauma to the head and damage to her left wing.

On Monday, Lori Arent, clinic manager at the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center, fitted the bird for a new set of wings.

"She ended up breaking the tips off many of these outer feathers which really now inhibits her ability to fly," Arent said.

To help her fly again, Arent used feathers from a red-tailed hawk that didn't survive its injuries. It's an ancient process called imping, and it dates back to the early days of falconry.

Arent clipped the damaged feathers and grafted the healthy new ones using bamboo sticks and epoxy glue. Arent expects the bird to be healthy enough for release as early as next week.

She says the glue won't hurt the bird and by April the feathers will molt and new ones will replace it.

The case load of injured raptors brought to the center is at its highest this year, Arent said. She says it's unclear why but she's happy at least one raptor will be able to recover.

"If we weren't able to do this process for this bird it would be here probably until next August or September," Arent said.

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