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Hawks rescued by deputies on the mend at Medina Raptor Center

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Posted at 9:02 PM, Feb 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 21:02:23-05

MEDINA, Ohio — Police officers investigate crimes, conduct traffic stops and are sworn to serve and protect, but sometimes they respond to calls that go beyond the call of duty.

In two instances last week, deputies from Medina and Lorain Counties saved the lives of injured hawks.

Both birds are now recovering at Medina Raptor Center in Spencer Township, a place where hundreds of birds of prey or Ohio native songbirds are rehabilitated yearly with the goal of eventually releasing them.

"Some birds recover a lot faster than others. Some, unfortunately, can't be released, but we keep a bird usually between a month, sometimes six months," said Melissa Jordan, the facility's executive director.

Last Thursday, Medina County Deputy James Salsgiver responded to Ohio Station Outlets near Lodi on a report of an injured Cooper's hawk. The bird appeared to have a bad wing.

"I tried to get within three feet of the bird. It just kept taking off and taking off," said Salsgiver. "It looked like one of his wings was definitely injured. He was trying to get away. He wasn't able to fly at all."

The deputy was handed a tablecloth from one of the stores and with the help of a good samaritan who stood on the other side with a jacket, the bird was covered.

The witness then got a box from another store and the injured hawk was placed inside of it before being transported to the Medina Raptor Center.

The rescue was captured on the deputy's body-worn camera.

"It kind of got pinned up against the trash can and I just threw the tablecloth over the hawk and was able to swoop it up," he said.

Earlier that week, a Lorain County deputy saved a Red-Tailed hawk after it apparently got hit by a car.

"His eyes were swollen. He didn't want to lift his head and he was pretty touch-and-go for the first 24 hours," he said.

The center provided pictures of both birds. News 5 cameras were not allowed near the birds of prey receiving treatment because federal law prohibits rehabilitation birds from being seen by the public, Jordan explained.

"The reason is they're trying to heal," she said.

Jordan said both both hawks are making great recoveries and she credited the deputies for doing their part to help to protect the ecosystem.

"They're all very important to our ecosystem, so if you can imagine if we didn't have Red-Tailed hawks or Great Horned owls that ate rodents— how overpopulated we would be with rodents," she added.

Jordan said she's planning to work more with police in the hopes of outfitting cruisers with tools that could help save other injured birds.

"If we could outfit our local enforcement with some very basic tools: heavy gloves, a blanket and some sort of container where they could contain the bird," Jordan said.

Salsgiver said he's grateful his encounter with the hawk had a happy ending.

"It's just one of those feel-good moments," he said.

He plans to be there for another moment when the hawk is set free.

"They actually invited my family and I to come and see the release, so that's kind of cool."

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