The SPCA for Monterey County released a rehabilitated red-tailed hawk from Santa Catalina School's campus on December 12.
The juvenile male hawk was found about a month earlier near downtown Monterey, apparently injured in a fight with another hawk. He had a deep puncture wound on one of his talons, "which doesn't seem like much, but it's a big injury for a bird of prey," said Marissa Jacky, an SPCA wildlife rehabilitation technician.
Santa Catalina was chosen as the release site because it offered a safe, open space within the preferred radius of where the bird was found.
Students in grades 1, 2, and 8 gathered on the front lawn, along with faculty, staff, and Upper School girls, to watch with hushed anticipation as Sister Claire, the retired head of school, lifted the top off the hawk's carrier to set him free. The raptor took off right away, perching in a nearby tree as territorial crows cawed at him. Beth Luttrell Brookhouser '92, the SPCA's director of community outreach, narrated the events for a Facebook Live video.
Santa Catalina Lower and Middle School is a good friend of the SPCA, regularly donating blankets, towels, and recyclables to the animal rescue group. The pre-kindergarten class adopts the SPCA each year for its Project of Passion.
For more information about the SPCA's wildlife program, including what to do if you find a wounded animal, see spcamc.org/wildlife.