Yesterday, our neighbor, the Grafton Job Corps, called regarding what they thought was a down and injured Red-tailed Hawk on their property. When the staff arrived it was clear that the young bird had taken down a squirrel and what was thought to be signs of injury was the bird most likely “mantling”. This is when a bird of prey hunches their shoulders and spread their wings over the kill to conceal it from other birds and predators
who would be potential thieves.
Jessica Zorge of the Wildlife Clinic approaches the bird (upper right) with the carrier she's almost positive she won't need.
You can see the squirrel and a partial mantling that was confused for injury. Also, she wasn't flying away because she didn't want to abandon her prey.
Jessica an Whitney Stiehler (also from the Wildlife Clinic) approach to see if the hawk will use her wins to fly.
The bird flies up to an abandon railroad track but
keeps her eye on her meal.
She waits patiently as Whitney and Jessica advises the gathered group to move on and let her have her meal.