Hawk Rescued from Attacking Dogs and Rosebush


Written byRita Castillo of Oregon

I don’t have a photo because this happened fast, I was alone, and I needed both hands for this rescue.

Iwas an 11-year-old girl growing up in a low-income house in Azusa, CA. Veryshort and thin for my age. One day our two elderly miniature poodles set up a terrible ruckus in a bushy corner of our backyard.

They were threatening to murder a red-tailed hawk. The hawk was on her back, wings spread, tangled up in a rose bush, about two feet from the ground. The rose bush had her trapped in the corneragainst the redwood fence. She was breaking feathers on tail and wingsas she flailed, terrified, crying out,trying to get a grip on something so she could right herself.

Getting the crazed dogs into the house wouldcost too much time.Speaking calmingly,I reached for one of her legs– and got deeply slashed by her beak. Tried again and got slashed again.(Raptors’ necks are waaaaay longer than you think they are!)

Our eyes met for real, then, and suddenly she stopped flailing. I put my forearm at an angle so she could grab it. There was a moment of peace between us, and her toes slowly and gently took hold of my forearm. I peeled rosebush away with my left hand and slowly brought my right arm up. She weighed four or five pounds — she seemed heavy to me.

When she realized she was untangled, she shifted position so she was upright, checking the poodles’ position and realizing they were unable to jump high enough to reach her. She just sat for a moment, gathering herself. She shook herself, dropping a few more feathers, then took flight.

Bleeding from rose thorn and beak wounds (one is still visible on my 62-year-old right hand), concerned that her feather loss would affect her flight, I watched her fly about 100 feet diagonally. I said “good luck” to her.

And then she turned around, dived and made a small circle about 15 feet over my head. I knew she was saying “thank you” to me.

Brought to you by: The Great Animal Rescue Chase and the Harmony Fund international rescue squads.


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Photo Credit: Timur Abasov | Dreamstime.com

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anne r.
Tom R.about a year ago

Nice rescue story and lucky bird

Marilyn M.
Marilyn M.about a year ago

Thank you.

Debra Tate
Debra Tateabout a year ago

What a wonderful rescue! Thank you for being so brave. Those scars will always be a reminder of your caring heart and the hawks' second chance at life.

Teresa W.
Teresa W.about a year ago

great story

Lorraine Andersen
Lorraine Andersenabout a year ago

Great story. Thanks for sharing

Jordan G.
Jordan G.about a year ago


Lori Ann Hone
Lori Hone2 years ago

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful rescue story, you should be very proud of you battle scars. That scar represents a life that was saved because of you.

Terry Vanderbush
Terry V.3 years ago


Natalia Baul
Natalia Baul3 years ago

Good story

Susan L.
Susan L.3 years ago

God bless you. I believe that each good thing you put out there comes back three-fold.