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Patient Update: Ferruginous Hawks

Every patient Calgary Wildlife accepts is a unique and special case, but three of the patients we took in this summer were particularly rare, three ferruginous hawk babies. Ferruginous hawks are an endangered species in Alberta.

The three hawks had been found orphaned in Drumheller and were transported to Calgary to be cared for. Upon arrival they were dehydrated but healthy over all.

They spent their first couple of weeks here in one of our isolation rooms, which are used to quarantine sick animals, or to provide a quiet place for more delicate patients like prey species or babies.

The ferruginous hawks were tweezer fed until they were able to feed themselves.

As they matured, their down was replaced as their flight feathers came in, as their feathers came in we were in for another surprise.

Two out of the three siblings were dark morphs, only a very small percentage of all ferruginous hawks get this genetic mutation which causes the feathers all over their bodies to be extremely dark. Ferruginous hawks usually have a combination of white and light brown plumage.

After 52 days with us, these remarkable birds were ready to be released into the wild.

Ferruginous hawk numbers are declining as their habitat, grasslands, are depleted and fragmented through urbanization. Hawk species are integral to the ecosystem, if you are lucky enough to come across a ferruginous hawk, do not disturb it.

If you observe a hawk or other wild animal in need of help, please call our hotline at:


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