A red-tailed hawk injured when it flew through a window in a south Kansas City home was successfully released to the wild after being rehabilitated.
Kimberly Hess, director of Lakeside Nature Center, gingerly lifted the young female hawk out of a box Tuesday and placed the bird on the ground.
The hawk immediately spread its wings, took flight and headed to some nearby trees in South Oak Park in the Waldo neighborhood.
The hawk made a quick recovery after it flew into the window of Drew Arnold’s home on Feb. 6.
The bird suffered lacerations to her legs and broken feathers, including tail and primary feathers.
“Which would mean she would not be able to fly and hunt for food,” Hess said.
It would have taken several months for the feathers to grow back in. Instead, the nature center’s staff chose a process called imping, where feathers from another red-tailed hawk are attached like a temporary prosthetic, Hess said.
“She now has 10 red feathers from an adult and a few of her brown ones,” Hess said.
Some primary feathers were also imped.
“When she naturally molts, those feathers will fall out,” Hess said. “Her new feathers will grow in and she’ll be just fine, with all brand new feathers.”
The imping process allowed the bird to be released to the wild in a matter of weeks, rather than months.
When Hess released the hawk, she watched as it flew away and then changed course for the trees.
“And that is a success story,” she said as she flashed a thumbs-up.
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