A group of community members and the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network came together late last month to rescue and re-nest a baby red-tailed hawk that had fallen from its nest in a tall eucalyptus tree.
A local neighbor, Jim Marshall, first found the baby red-tailed hawk in the early evening, discovering that it had fallen nearly 90 feet from its nest in a eucalyptus tree in front of El Encanto Hotel.
He then enlisted the help of neighbor Peggy Love, who kept the baby hawk safe overnight, and the two neighbors took the bird to the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network’s animal hospital the next morning.
Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network communications manager Rachel Mattovich said the wildlife hospital team assessed the baby hawk and found that it sustained no injuries in the fall.
Julia Parker, director of operations, then got to work coordinating to get the hawk re-nested and reunited with its mother and siblings.
Besides the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, people involved in the operation included Marshall and Love; employees at the El Encanto Hotel, such as director of engineering James Esparaza and engineering supervisor Alex Billalba; and two tree-trimming companies.
“It took a lot of different people,” Mattovich said. “It was totally a community effort.”
The first tree-trimming company called to help, Douglas Cicileo Trees and Arborist Services, came out with its lift to assist in returning the hawk to its nest, but the lift, measuring up to 70 feet, was not quite tall enough to reach the nest.
Most of the people in “Operation: Re-Nest” returned at 7 the next morning to try a second attempt at re-nesting the bird.
This time, Peterson’s Tree Care provided its 90-foot lift, and arborist Gobino Nova was able to safely reach the hawk’s nest and return the baby red-tailed hawk to its family. Mattovich said Peterson’s Tree Care was one of the very few companies in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties to have the type of lift that would allow them to safely reach the nest’s height.
Mattovich also told Noozhawk that community members have been updating the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, saying that the baby red-tailed hawks are doing well.
“The neighbors have been watching [the hawks] and they’re doing great,” Mattovich said. “It was a really happy ending.”
If a sick or injured animal is found, the person should call the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network’s Helpline at 805.681.1080. More information on what to do if you find an animal that needs help, as well as on the organization’s work, can be found on its website here.