When I first found this large red-shouldered hawk, it was sitting under a tree as I was leaving my office. It was clearly blind, with a milky film covering its eyes.

It was just sitting and not moving, even as I cautiously approached it with my camera phone. I was concerned over its condition, but I had also never had any experience dealing with something like this, so I called the folks at Animal Control.

They picked up the bird and transported it to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, in Maitland, Florida. I didn’t know this amazing facility even existed.

Over the next six weeks, I found myself observing and interacting with some extremely dedicated technicians and volunteers. The first night, the hawk was placed in an incubator in guarded condition. The staff took turns testing its blood, and giving it antibiotics. Its health progressed until it could stand – and see.

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According to the staff, the exact cause of the bird’s blindness was not identified, but they believe that it may have been a means for the hawk to protect itself from a bodily infection.

Finally, I received a phone call from the staff asking if I would like to witness the hawk’s release. I quickly agreed, saying: “Yes, I’ll be right up there to Maitland, tell me when.”

They replied, “No, no, the bird lived right near your Orlando office. That’s its home, and we want to return it to its own environment. These birds are territorial and have long relationships.”

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A wonderful woman named Janice Buczkowski then arrived near my office with the hawk. Next is the footage of the healed bird-of-prey that was once blind — but now can see and fly.

(WATCH the montage of the rescue below – edited by Charmaine Gilbreath)

– Written by Jill Haire

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  1. Thanks for a lovely story & rescuing this bird ! I had a lovely experience myself when I lived in a country house which had a chimney temporarily open to the sky. One morning I went into that room & something suddenly whooshed past my head & disappeared into a closed-in porch. I went hunting for it nervously, and discovered a baby owl hiding behind some boxes on the floor, staring at me with huge eyes. He was shaking in fear, but I talked to him & slowly cupped him into my hands and spent a few minutes enjoying the wonderful feeling & the closeness & his beating heart, then pushed open the door with my foot & said goodbye & released him. So beautiful & so frightened ! That was 4 years ago – I still tell that story with pride !

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