WSU home to oldest red-tailed hawk on record
Raptor Club member Sarah Monzel helps care for him. (Photos by Shelly Hanks, WSU Photo Services)
But make way for Charlie, a red-tailed hawk whose home is Washington State University.
“What a terrific story truly amazing,” said George Fenwick, president of the American Bird Conservancy in Plains, Va.
“Very interesting,” responded John Blakeman, a raptor biologist from Ohio who said he plans to write about Charlie’s achievement in a comprehensive book about raptors.
One for the books
The comeback king
Trust and respect for 30 years. (Don’t attempt to
nuzzle a hawk yourself. Stauber is considered a
guru of falconry.)
Charlie’s injuries may have left him permanently disabled but, like all birds of prey, he’s armed with powerful talons for piercing and crushing his target. And like any wild bird, he got ornery when approached by humans.
Secrets of his success
Sarah Monzel and other WSU Raptor Club members
walk Charlie almost daily.
“Isn’t he beautiful?” she asks upon entering Charlie’s mew inside the Carver Raptor Facility.
Which is largely why WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital treats roughly 100 injured or ill raptors each year, said WSU exotics and wildlife veterinarian Nickol Finch, the Raptor Club’s advisor since Stauber retired in January. While many of those birds heal and get released back to the wild, others, like Charlie, would die.
“Not only did Charlie survive – he thrived,” said Monzel, who, along with other club members, gives him walks, feedings, medicine for mild arthritis and a supplement called Vitahawk.
And so, as Pale Male soars from his classy digs in New York to find food and a new girlfriend, Charlie’s role is more down to earth. For three decades, he has perched patiently during dozens of presentations at schools, fairs and 4-H events, allowing people to see a two-pound force of nature up close and personal, said Monzel.
And each new day that she walks in and says, “Hi Charlie. How’s my old man today?” a new record will be set.
Nickol Finch, WSU veterinarian, email@example.com
Sarah Monzel, WSU Raptor Club, firstname.lastname@example.org
Erik Stauber, retired WSU veterinarian and raptor specialist, 208-882-1133