Hawk nearly paralyzed by unusual incident recovers, released into wild

Skylar was almost paralyzed when she found by workers at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.
Skylar was almost paralyzed when she found by workers at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.
The femur bone that Skylar ate.
The femur bone that Skylar ate.

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — Two months ago, someone brought a hawk that was nearly paralyzed to the Owl’s Nest Sanctuary. The wildlife group almost had to put the bird down, but today the bird was set free.

Skylar was first found by workers at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.

“Pretty much paralyzed. We figured it got hit by a plane or struck by car,” said Kris Porter, a licensed rehabber with the Owls Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife. That day, Porter stabilized the bird and took it to Dr. Peter Black at Busch Gardens.

It turned out the owl was not hit by a car or plane at all. Her near-paralysis was caused by something else entirely.

“She swallowed a femur bone, which is the leg bone of either a chicken or a duck. She swallowed it whole, pressing against the spinal column,” said Porter.

Even after the bone was removed, Skylar still couldn’t get up.

“There was a time when you’re dealing with that four weeks what is best for the animal to continue on,” Porter said.

For five weeks, the bird barely moved. Porter said she’s glad that she and specialists gave Skyler a second chance.

“We gave her an extra week and she decided to get up on her hocks and then her legs,” said Porter.

Then with a few more weeks of rehab and time in the flying barn, Skylar made her big exit Wednesday at the Feather Sound Country Club.

“I do think about we almost called it on her and we gave her that extra little bit. She’s a magnificent female. She’s going to be a great bird. Beautiful,” Porter said.

Skylar wasn’t the only bird let back into the wild. The Owls Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife released a total of five birds.

Learn more about the Owls Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife.

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