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Missing red-tailed hawk has been found

Red-tailed hawk found .jpg
Posted at 5:24 PM, Jun 12, 2024

COCKEYSVILLE, Md. — Back in April, WMAR told you about a red-tailed hawk that went missing from the Oregon Ridge Nature Center after a fallen tree ruined her home.

We're happy to announce Stella has been found after seven long weeks.

"I had everyone here crying so it was actually really fun to get her back,” said Kathleen Woods, the Executive Director of the Phoenix Wildlife Center.

It was an emotional moment when the call came in that Stella, the missing red-tailed hawk, had been found.

RELATED: Keep a bird's eye view for a missing red-tailed hawk

Her caretakers were unsure if finding her was going to happen.

"We all had a bond and a relationship with that bird and I think after seven weeks and no confirmed sightings of her, it certainly felt like we were losing hope of finding her," said Jessica Jeannetta, the Regional Coordinator of Nature Centers at the Baltimore County Recreation and Parks Department.

Stella is an animal ambassador for educational programs at the Oregon Ridge Nature Center. A place she's called home since 2021 when she was rescued and deemed non-releasable due to previous injuries.

"She had been hit by a car and was blind in her right eye and then upon that injury they also found that she had been shot and had shrapnel throughout her body,” said Jeannetta.

In late April, a tree fell on the nature center. It damaged the building and destroyed the enclosure Stella was living in. The hawk was missing for close to two months, but Sunday brought a new beam of hope.

"We got a phone call into the nature center from a resident in Perry Hall, they thought that they had seen the bird in their backyard," said Jeannetta.

The anklets confirmed it was the missing red-tailed hawk. After successful recapture, an assessment showed some marks on her beak, but the major concern is her weight.

“The fact that she's lost 60% of her body weight is just awful," said Woods. “She came in at two pounds and she should be at almost five pounds."

The Phoenix Wildlife Center is a rehabilitation spot that takes care of injured and orphaned Maryland native wildlife. Currently, Stella is recovering there. Something that Woods said could take six weeks.

"Every day we increase her food," said Woods. "The process for any rehabilitated bird is to replace their fluids. Both their maintenance fluids and fluids they may have lost while they were out there over three days. So we don't just give a starving child a cheeseburger."

It'll be a slow road to recovery, but the center is grateful for all the help that came in during the search for Stella.

"I think putting the word out thanks to all of you guys was really the right thing to do," said Woods.