Shooting Victim Faces Tough Recovery

Learn About Patient #19-050

  • Classification: Bird
  • Species: Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
  • Lifespan in the Wild: 15yrs
  • Wingspan: 3-4ft
  • Weight: 1-2lbs
  • Range in the Wild: continental US up to Canada and Alaska
  • Habitat in the Wild: Open country, forests
    • Diet in the Wild: small reptiles, rodents, songbirds, game fowl
    • Diet at Wildlife Images: rodents, poultry, donated meats, venison
    • Arrival: February 15, 2019
    • Injury: Bullet Wounds

Patient 19-050 is in stable condition following the removal of two bullets on Friday, February 15.  A Grants Pass family brought in the red-tailed hawk after their child had been told by a neighborhood friend that it had been in a carrier, injured for a few days.  Staff in Wildlife Images clinic took x-rays as part of the bird’s intake exam and found two bullets still inside its body.  One bullet was near the neck and a second was found in the left wing. Both were removed successfully while the bird was under anesthesia. Following the procedure, the bird was awake and stable but both the damage from the gunshots and the anesthesia can make for a tough recovery. The clinic staff is watching the bird very closely and continuing with antibiotics and pain relievers as needed.

The bird was brought in from near Elmer Nelson Lane in Grants Pass. However, in some circumstances, an animal can fly or wonder a long distance before it weakens enough from its injuries to be caught by humans.

It breaks our hearts to see patients come in with these wounds because they are 100% preventable. These birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act – making it illegal to shoot them. Oregon State Police – Fish & Wildlife Division is investigating this case.  One month previous, almost to the day, another red-tailed hawk arrived with a gunshot wound. That patient, from Jackson County, died.


Anyone with information regarding either case is asked to contact Oregon State Police Dispatch at 541-776-6111.

Reference OSP Case Number SP19-055622 – Josephine County double gunshot case

Reference OSP Case Number SP19-018083 – Jackson County single gunshot case

Patient 19-050 with wing wrap following anesthesia