(Fairfield Animal Control)
A red-tailed hawk that flew into a car traveling on a highway in Connecticut—landing on the driver's lap—has been released back into the wild.
Dan Caitlin was driving along the Merritt Parkway in Trumbull, Conn., last week when the hawk flew into the windshield of his car, bounced off the side window and fell into his lap, animal control officials told the Fairfield Citizen:
Caitlin drove for a short distance with the stunned hawk in his lap, before pulling over and putting the raptor into the passenger seat. When he got home, he called the animal control staff, which picked up the injured hawk and kept it overnight before bringing it to a local veterinarian.
Fairfield Animal Control officer Paul Miller told Yahoo News that the injured bird was treated and released several days later.
The leafy suburb has had more than its share of raptor news.
In March, town officials were forced to hire a falconer from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to capture a territorial red-shouldered hawk that had reportedly been attacking residents.
The Connecticut Post detailed one of the attacks reported at a high school:
An administrator at the high school on Unquowa Road called police around 2:30 p.m. after she saw the hawk swoop down and graze the head of a female student. The student fled the area immediately after the attack.
The falconer eventually nabbed one of two hawks purportedly preying on Ludlowe High's students.
Meanwhile, two other injured red-tailed hawks—including one that also collided with a car on the Merritt Parkway—are slated to be released back into the wild at the 14th annual Hawk Watch Festival in Greenwich, Conn., on Sept. 22.
"A raptor getting struck by a car—it's extremely common," Peter Reid, associate director of Wildlife in Crisis, told the paper.
According to WildlifeofCT.com, red-tailed hawks are common in Connecticut:
The adults can weigh an average of 2 1/2 pounds and their wingspans are generally around 4 feet. [They] use open fields and meadows for hunting and tall trees for nesting. They like to live in forests near open areas. These hawks are active during the day and are adept soarers. These hawks will feed on small rodents, smaller birds, reptiles, and amphibians. They usually locate prey with vision from a high perch and swoop down to capture it in their talons.
In New England red-tailed hawks breed beginning in about March. A male and female pair will perform aerial acrobatics as a form of courtship.