Hawk rescued by relocation program killed by car

A red-tailed hawk is giving researchers important clues about what happens when the birds are relocated from airport runways.

A hawk that was relocated from Portland, Ore. died when it flew into a car windshield near Redmond.

About five miles east of Redmond, the red-tailed hawk took its last breath. A car hit it as it flew across Highway 202. Though it's not uncommon for a bird to die after a car hits it, this bird had wing tags.

"As well as two leg bands," explained Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Kim Chandler.

Chandler tracked the bird back to where its journey began two years ago.

"Discovered that it was tagged in Columbia County, Oregon April 9, 2015. So, that little bird made quite a trip," he said.

Turns out, the hawk was relocated from Portland International Airport's runway and released in Clatskanie. It was part of the same hawk relocation program Sea-Tac Airport started nearly two decades ago.

Wildlife specialists relocate hawks that fly near runways in order to avoid collisions with planes. The program has grown to include four west coast airports: Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, and San Francisco.

This particular bird made a trek nearly 300 miles long. Biologists believe it may have made Redmond its home, or it may have been migrating for the summer. The hawks often travel as far as Alaska.

This particular bird is a success story for researchers, despite its death in Redmond. It shows the birds are surviving the relocation program and live long after they're removed from plane pathways.

"They get up there and go for it. Interesting stuff," Chandler said.

KING


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