In Memoriam: Cazadero the Red-Tailed Hawk

A long-beloved Wildlife Images Ambassador has passed away. Cazadero the Red-Tailed Hawk entertained and enraptured guests for over 16 years. His beautiful coloring and curious nature made all visitors who met him instant fans.

Cazadero passed away the evening of Friday, July 30th. Our clinic crew had been keeping a close eye on him following a decline in health. After noting rapid weight loss and loss of appetite, his blood work showed problems with his liver and he retired from working with the public to prevent stress. Last week, Wildlife Images’ staff veterinarian Dr. Erin Lane and the Animal Care Team decided his quality of life had reached a point where euthanasia was the most humane choice.

Caz, as his keepers called him, arrived at Wildlife Images in May of 2005. He was transferred from Hawk Haven, another wildlife rehabilitation center. Caz was originally a wild bird, who was brought into human care because he was blind in one eye. For a hawk in the wild, this could be catastrophic. He would be unable to hunt for prey, navigate, or avoid predators. For this reason, he was given permanent status as an Ambassador. He delighted guests by showing off his wings and tail feathers at events and for daily Meet & Greets at the park. He often pretended to jump off of his handlers’ arms, keeping them on their toes. For many guests, he was most recognizable sharing an enclosure with long-time roommate Beauty, a fellow Red-tail. 

Cazadero’s life was full of good food, caring keepers, and hawk happiness!

“Caz loved a good mouse, and to stand in his water bowl to cool down. His signature pose was to spread his wings and tail feathers to cool down, and to show off to guests.  He made amazing progress with his training and behavior while we worked together. I’ll miss him greatly, but I’m glad he was able to reach and inspire so many in his life, and that I got to help him do so.”
~ Jamie Stevens, Cazadero’s Primary Handler 

“Cazadero taught us to live life to its fullest. He loved flying around his enclosure, spreading his wings in the sunshine, and spending time with his best friend, Beauty. We will miss “Caz the Spaz” so much and are grateful for the time we were able to spend with him.”
~ Krista Smith, Wildlife Images Staff Member

“As an Avian and docent volunteer I had the privilege of getting to know Caz over the last year.  He was an amazing ambassador who enjoyed time in the weathering yard educating guests.  He will be sorely missed.”
~ Cheryl Crawford, Wildlife Images Volunteer


Share your memories and photos of Cazadero on our Facebook page.

In memorial to Cazadero and his impact on guests as an educational Animal Ambassador we invite guests to continue visiting his fellow raptors at our daily Raptor Meet & Greet, located in the Weathering Yard every day at 1 pm.

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To make a gift in Cazadero’s honor use the donation allocation “Ambassador Memorial Fund.” All donations will go to ensure the Animal Ambassadors at Wildlife Images have the best quality of life and continue to inspire children and adults alike.

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Cazadero enjoying the sunshine in the Weathering Yard
Cazadero contemplating some very important bird thoughts
Cazadero working with his handler