“It takes a community.” Have you ever heard that saying? I have and I’ve used that line before, too.
In many ways it takes a community to do a LOT of things. For example, bringing food to the table. Or educating children. Or taking care of illness. Building a house. Etc. etc.
I was out on a walk on a warm Sunday afternoon. It was actually one of those rare fall days here in MN when it was in the 70s for temperatures. We actually had those temps for a week just this past November! Anyways, as I was walking I saw a hawk that didn’t appear to be quiet right. I didn’t get really close to it but I got close enough to shoot a video of the hawk with my phone, and low and behold I found out the magnificent bird was injured. I decided to contact a friend that may know whom to contact to get the hawk the help it needed.
Through communicating with the friend, I ended up with the contact basically saying, “call ____”. So, I called the next contact and they said, “Well. We are short staffed, so don’t wait for us outside by the bird tonight.” I understood and let it be, thinking that the words spoken meant they would be coming… just not right away.
The next day I was out walking the same route and I saw the hawk again. I didn’t approach the bird, but instead called up the game warden this time. Not answering the phone on the other end, I left a message and asked that I get a call back to know if he himself would help the bird, or would know whom to contact. The day came, and went. The next morning I went out for a walk and saw the bird a ways down the road. Shortly after, I was on my way to work and confirmed that it WAS the same hawk. Knowing this was day #3 and this bird couldn’t seem to fly, I knew that it had to be both dehydrated and hungry.
I dialed the local police department and talked to the dispatcher. She said, “You’ll have to call the state patrol.” I called them and they told me, “We don’t handle incidents like that. You’ll have to call the ‘Raptor Center’ at the U of M (University of Minnesota).” She proceeded to give me two phone numbers, which I was SO thankful for. I was FINALLY making head way in getting the hawk some much needed help.
For a moment I paused thinking, It’s been almost 3 days now. I hope this is the right contact for getting the bird help. I dialed the number and left a message. I gave details of the last few days, and that the state patrol had told me to call them.
Within 5 minutes a woman called me back. As we talked, she asked pointed questions as to gather as much information as possible to know how they may be able to help the bird if it was injured. Near the end of the conversation the woman asked me, “Well, will you be able to catch the bird if I tell you how to catch it.” My eyebrows shot upwards in surprise. Given I LOVE animals and want the best for them, I am no expert in dealing with birds that have talons used to kill.
“Ummm…”, I said, “I’m actually at work right now and will not be able to catch it. Do you have someone else that could come and catch it?” The mere thought of me chasing a Ruffed Legged Hawk was almost comical to me, as I reflected back on the day.
“Well, we have volunteers… so I’m going to contact some and see if I can find one to help out in capturing this bird. Will you be able available to help in the capture of the hawk?”
I squirmed a bit as I knew my schedule was booked with clients for the day. “I’m at work right now. I really can’t get away today, but if you absolutely can’t find someone to capture this hawk, I will help out.” She agreed and said she was already on it to finding someone to capture the bird.
Within minutes a different woman from Willmar, MN called me. She told me she was a volunteer for “The Raptor Center”. She, like the other woman, asked many pointed questions to gather all the information she would need to capture the injured hawk. After close to 10 minutes of talking, she agreed that she would be able to capture the hawk herself as long as I had my phone close by so she could call if she had questions about the location. I knew this, too, was an issue but thankfully my receptionist, Mom, knew what was going on and agreed to communicate with the woman while I was with clients. The woman was notified and was also fine with this.
With a few calls out to Mom on the location, around noon the woman had located the hawk and within a few minutes ended up capturing it after a little chase. Apparently the hawk had just found dinner, catching a snake! It had it part ways in it’s mouth as the woman was approaching the hawk. The hawk decided to run from the woman and when it entered tall weeds the bird slowed down and ended up turning on its back and put its talons out at her. That’s when she captured the hawk! WAY TO GO!
After the capture the woman was able to get the hawk to drink because, yes, it was dehydrated. The woman then called my Mom again and relayed the series of events. I was with a client so Mom relayed this to me after the client session. About 2 hours later the woman called again and said she’d taken it to one of the local vets, in Appleton, MN. The vet had done X-Rays and found the Ruffed Legged Hawk had a fractured Ulna. Basically what this means is: In the human body we have 2 bones in our forearm. One of them is the Ulna. The hawk’s Ulna had a fracture in the middle of the Ulna that was preventing it from being able to fly. This magnificent bird really HAD needed help!
The volunteer was now on the road again, and again she’d picked up her phone to fill us in on what progress was being made for helping the hawk. SHE was now in route to take the hawk back to Willmar where another volunteer was going to meet her and then take it to “The Raptor Center”. She told us that “The Raptor Center” doesn’t usually have as great communication with following up with how the birds are doing, so we shouldn’t get too discouraged about that. I was a little bummed about that, but I was just really glad the hawk was going to get the help it needed. In my eyes, I didn’t think a healthy bird should be put through a long , slow death by no one helping it. And my driving by it everyday, and seeing it on the side of the road, would just eat at me for not taking the time to help it out. The hawk doesn’t have a voice like we humans do, one to ask for “help”. I owed it at least a voice to let it have an opportunity to become completely healthy and well again. So, I followed my hearts promptings and abided in finding a community of people to serve the bird’s need.
Looking back on those 3 days, I’ve realized something. I realized our personal limitation is God’s opportunity. Meaning, I was limited in the ability of WHAT I could do for the bird. It seemed that phone calls to the “wrong” people were a dead ends. It wasn’t that they themselves were wrong. It was that they weren’t the right fit for helping in this particular incident. In the happenings, I was already realizing that. Hence, why I wouldn’t give up on my pursuit to get the hawk the right help. The other of my limitations was my inability to catch a hawk. Being, as many call me, an “animal whisperer”, I know I have a gift and I’m truly blessed for that gift. In saying that, I’m not entirely comfortable in capturing a magnificent bird that I really don’t know much about, nor, encounter talons that could easily rip my flesh apart! Knowing someone else more capable than I to catch the hawk was really needed. And guess what? My personal limitations were Gods’ opportunity to do his great work, and a community was gathered to help rescue the Ruffed Legged Hawk! WAY COOL!
All the people that I talked with and left messages with on the phone, those that led me to dead ends and those that ended up pointing me in the right direction? They were ALL important. And the people intimately involved? Well that was honestly a LOT of people too. I know there are more people than I can even count, because I truly don’t even know all the people involved as they cared for the hawk while it healed from the fracture. All I know is that God made a way for restoration and health to be restored in the hawk, and I’m truly thankful! It took a community, and I’m SO thankful for every person involved!
Community looks different in every situation. Sometimes our community is with people we know and others times, like this example, it is with virtually all strangers to me. And the outcome? Well, I would say the outcome was good! The hawk is recovering, regaining it’s health, and hopefully in the near future it will regain its freedom to soar through the skies in its true home.
Alas. I wanted to share this blog NOT at all because I want any accolades for my small part in this rescue, but to show us ALL how important community is. And most importantly, like I already stated, that our personal limitations can be Gods’ opportunity!
May you be blessed today, and be a blessing to those lives that you are with today! And, “Happy Holidays to you and your close community AND extended community of loved ones as well!”