Hawk found in Bountiful with wings cut, tail plucked

BOUNTIFUL, Utah -- A sad discovery was made in Bountiful this week when a hawk was found with its wings cut off and its tail plucked, and it was all human caused.

"As soon as I grabbed it, I saw a straight line all the way across, and you could just see where the scissors went," said Mike Shaw of HawkWatch International. "The most disturbing part is it's my species that did it."

HawkWatch International takes in an average of three or four injured or endangered birds a month. Half of those injuries are part of nature, but the other half are caused by humans.

HawkWatch said people sometimes try to take in wild birds as pets and clip their wings, which is dangerous for the animal and the person.

"It's also, more importantly, illegal to have them as pets," said Nikki Wayment of HawkWatch International.

Then there are people who think they are helping, by picking baby birds off the ground, assuming they are in trouble and trying to care for them.

That's what happened to one of HawkWatch's Great Horned Owls.

"He learned that humans will take care of him and feed him," Wayment said. "What we are doing is we're creating a bird that will never be able to survive in the wild. The best thing for us to do when we find baby birds, especially on the ground, is to leave them alone."

Once these birds are injured or conditioned to human contact, they're often confined to captivity for the rest of their lives, and they're considered the lucky ones.

"They get placed with education facilities, if they can't get placed with education facilities, then they have to be euthanized," Wayment said.

As for the Cooper's Hawk who had its wings clipped, it has been taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Ogden, where it is being cared for.

The Division of Wildlife Resources is investigating who may have injured the bird.