The Release

After three weeks of rehabilitation at Wings of Wonder (WOW), this beautiful three-year-old Cooper’s Hawk was ready to go home.  IMG_4087-3

On March 9th, my kids and I responded to a plea from Rebecca Lessard, the Executive Director at WOW – someone had found an injured Coopers Hawk in Traverse City, and he desperately needed a ride out to the raptor sanctuary in Empire.  I thought to myself, what a fantastic opportunity to help for my kids!!  And that it was, I’m sure it will be one of those things they remember forever.  You can read about the rescue experience here.  But on this day, this beautiful creature had come full circle – he was rescued, rehabilitated, and now finally healed enough to return home.

So behind Oryana, a small crowd gathered to witness this amazing experience. As always, Rebecca compassionately and generously told the story – she educated, and she shared the experience.








IMG_4087Someone asked, “are you sure he’s ready to go?”  Rebecca chuckled aloud, “Oooooh, yes!”  She said he’s been in a bit larger flight pen lately, and he’s just been flapping around, eating heartily, looking alert, etc.  And at this point – this happened…


He flapped his wings and tried to fly away!

IMG_4090It was almost as if he heard that question, and yelled out “I’m READY!  Thank you very much for the care, but send me off!” So a little bit more education, as long as she had him held like so…


IMG_4113And then came time for the release…IMG_4117



IMG_4120-2And just like that, he was gone.  If you had sneezed at the release, you would have missed it.  No hesitation.  Off he went…

I like to imagine the story this hawk will carry with him, a story of hurt, pain, and being rescued by compassion. How easy it would have been for an animal to find him first, or some less compassionate soul.  But rather it was someone who knew exactly what to do.  I imagine him being thankful for the time he spent at WOW.  For the care he received.  The healing that was allowed to happen.  I don’t think he’ll forget it.

What an honor to be there from start to finish.  To see the amazement in my kids’ eyes.  To watch the moving in their spirit.  To hear the stories they tell.  Thank you Rebecca for the work you do.

If you come upon an injured raptor, and you’re in the Greater Grand Traverse Area – call Wings of Wonder 231-326-4663.  She’ll guide you on how to safely respond. If you’re not in this area, read this post for some helpful information and what to do.

Thank you for reading this story.




5 thoughts on “The Release

  1. Pingback: Coopers Hawk Rescue - Moments Captured Photography by Anna

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Protected by WP Anti Spam