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Hawk Hit By Plane Recovering From Burns

We’re heard plenty about birds hitting planes since the USAIR crash into the Hudson last year. But what about birds hit by planes? An Illinois red-tailed hawk somehow got hit by a crashing private plane (or its fireball), caught fire and survived. Or at least that’s the going theory of the Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, which took in the singed bird.

Tragically two men in their 30s died in the crash in Sugar Grove. But four people, including two kids, in a very close house survived.

Then rescuers found the bird with all its feathers burned off. They figure it’s a red-tailed hawk–by far the most common hawk–and a female, the bigger of the species. But that’s just a guess, the center’s blog say:

Burned beyond positive species identification, Phoenix was recovered by Kane County Animal Control and was promptly transferred to Flint Creek Wildlife for emergency care. Since that time four nights ago, she has been receiving around-the-clock care for her injuries.

“When I saw the bird, I was shocked,” said Dawn Keller, the center’s executive director.  “This was nothing like I’ve ever seen. It had to have been engulfed.” She only has down left and has burnt feet, throat and eyelids. Still the center will work to release her if she is able. Otherwise “Phoenix” will become an education bird.

Keller had to explain to the local media that Phoenix was not guilty of causing the crash. “The crash happened after dark, which means she was already sleeping for the night. If she got sucked into the propeller or engine, she’d be dead. She was just an innocent bystander…,” Keller told the Beacon News.

Just last month the center rescued another raptor in a transportation-related mishap. A Ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis)  rode thousands of miles on a freight train out of its range in western Canada before it was finally discovered stuck in the train’s grill in Franklin Park, suburban Chicago.

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