Today, a very special hawk made his first public appearance as an education bird with Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation. Veteran education birds were part of the FCWR display at Northerly Island’s Polar Adventure Days today, but for about a half hour, a Ferruginous Hawk named Journey was the star of the show.
Journey was discovered in the plow of a train at a Chicago train yard in the fall of 2009. A western North American species, the hawk is thought to have collided with the train somewhere in western Canada! It is estimated that Journey was stuck in the train plow, in a painfully awkward position, for at least 1400 miles. The hawk was carefully removed from the train plow and began a long and difficult recovery, from injuries including a badly dislocated shoulder and severe head trauma. Nursed back to health but left with a permanent wing injury, Journey has been in training in order to join the FCWR education program.
Today was his official public debut, and he was an absolute STAR! The Polar Adventure Days crowd was large and loud, so Journey and handler Dawn stood just behind an open door inside a small, safe space, with an adoring crowd able to take photos and admire the beautiful western raptor. Despite being new to the program, the young bird was a champ during the short viewing and even roused* twice!
*Rouse (v): [Falconry term] To ruffle the feathers and cause them to stand briefly on end (a sign of contentment)