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Red-tailed Hawk “L3” Released After a Year of Recovery!

L3 takes her first flight in the wild after a year in recovery!

In June of 2022, one of the recently fledged Red-tailed Hawk juveniles (named “L3”) from the nest on Cornell University’s campus was injured (learn more about her injury and recovery here). Staff at the Finger Lakes Raptor Center remarked that she had a strong and gritty demeanor while undergoing rehab, and that those traits would likely serve her well as she re-entered the wild.

By August 2, 2023, L3 had finished growing in her new adult tail feathers and she was flying strong enough to merit being released. A site near her natal territory was chosen for the release, and after some brief coaxing she sprung from the kennel and into the air, lifting off with strong, rapid beats of her wings and flashing her new red tail. After a just a few seconds of exhilarating flight, she powered past a set of trees and was gone. Local observers will continue to try to monitor her whereabouts over the coming weeks and we’ll continue to share observations as we learn more.

Special thanks to the Finger Lakes Raptor Center and the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital for their expertise and care, and to the Cornell Hawks community for your support!

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Pileated Woodpecker by Lin McGrew / Macaulay Library