NEW YORK - This injured red-tailed hawk is not only getting a second chance at life but also a third. On Sunday, NYPD Harbor cops plucked him from underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. Just one day later, New York City firefighters rescued the very same bird from a construction site in Lower Manhattan. They say he was found in a weakened state, covered in flies.
"Statistics show more than half of birds at his age don't survive their first year," said Bobby Horvath, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. He and his wife Cathy Horvath are nursing the roughly 9-month-old bird back to health.
Bobby is also a New York City firefighter. He got the call from another firefighter. The couple runs Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation out of their home in North Massapequa, Long Island. They also are caring for a fruit bat, owl, other birds and mammals and run solely on donations.
"We're going to feed him up, we'll give him pain medication and just get him stronger again to give him a chance to go back," Bobby said.
It's said the hawk population is booming these days, especially in open areas. This little guy, who doesn't have a name, was too weak to hunt live food. They tell us he got caught between buildings. Cathy, who does most of the rehab, says he is doing better now and has more of an appetite.
"He'll let us know when he's ready to go," Cathy said. "He'll be all crazy and jumpy and want to go, and we'll find a good spot to release him."
Cathy and Bobby hope to release the hawk in about two weeks or even sooner if he feels better. He won't be going back Manhattan. They'll let him go from a safer starting point -- probably in Queens.