Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

This Red-tailed Hawk came to the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program in August 2003. She was emaciated with neurological symptoms (seizures and leg paralysis) that were diagnosed as West Nile Virus.  The encephalitis (brain swelling) caused by West Nile Virus left her with permanent brain damage.

This left her missing some of the appropriate behaviors needed to survive in the wild such as: the ability to recognize live animals as prey, and avoidance of potential threats (humans, cars, etc). West Nile Virus had also caused damage to both of her eyes that has resulted in a slow decrease in her vision over time.

Her initial lack of fear of humans may not have been good for her chances of surviving out in the wild, but it has made her an amazing education ambassador. Her calm, patient demeanor has made her an amazing first bird for our volunteers to learn to work with!

She was named Hazel after her beautiful eyes, and hazel trees are said to spark inspiration.