Friday, June 15, 2007

888 7th Ave. Fledgling news

Baby hawk refueled, clear for takeoff soon

The fallen baby hawk rescued in Manhattan was nursed back to health yesterday with the help of a surrogate mama.

The fallen baby hawk rescued in Manhattan was nursed back to health yesterday with the help of a surrogate mama - and he may be ready for release soon.

"He's stretching, he's exercising his wings. He's doing everything he should be doing," said licensed wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath, 44, who has been caring for the red-tailed hawk, dubbed Ziggy by a reader at, at his Long Island home.

The 7-week-old fledgling was grounded Wednesday after losing control during his first flight and plunging into a courtyard near the Ziegfeld Theater on W. 55th St.

Yesterday, Ziggy took a step closer to a return to the urban wild.

After spending the night resting in Horvath's home, the brown, white-speckled hawk migrated in the morning to the backyard, where Horvath keeps a 25-by-12-foot flight cage. It's 9 feet tall.

The hawk immediately befriended the cage's other resident: a permanently flightless red-tailed hawk named Diana.

"He went right up to her," Horvath said.

Ziggy let out a piercing scream - hawk baby talk for, "I'm hungry."

The 10-year-old mama hawk, who was shot in the wing at age 3, went to work.

Using her beak, Diana fed the youngster a breakfast of chopped rodent. Then she sat beside him on a wooden branch, feathers puffed in a sign of maternal protectiveness.

Still, Horvath worried about the hawk's recovery time. There's only a narrow window for returning missing hawk chicks to their nest.

By the end of the day yesterday, the baby still hadn't taken a full flight.

"We want to get it back, but we don't want to rush it just to satisfy people who want to get it back in the wild," Horvath said.

Meanwhile, city birders anxiously awaited Ziggy's return.

Accountant Brett Odom has been monitoring what he believes is the hawk's nest from his midtown office window since the parent hawks arrived there this spring.

Since the fledgling went missing from the nest on the 36th floor of 888 Seventh Ave., Odom has watched the mother hawk waiting in the now-empty nest and searching the area.

"I hope he comes back soon," said Odom, 36, of Chelsea. "She's probably wondering where he is."

Thanks to Ben Cacace for sending me this story.