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Wash. Sq RTH Bad Band

Dear Mr. Karim:

I have contacted a local raptor rehabilitation expert who regularly works with New York City authorities on raptor-related issues to address this problem by capturing the bird and removing the band. I will rely on their collective expertise to determine the appropriate method to use to try to capture the bird and when these attempts should be made, with a view towards minimizing the chances that the bird will be injured during the process. Please recognize that attempting to capture adult raptors within large urban areas poses significant challenges with a fairly significant potential for injury or death to the bird. There are difficult trade-offs that need to be considered and no easy answers. The experts that I previously consulted were of the opinion that an adult bird coping with an injury is better off than having it severely injured or killed during an attempt to save it. That was their opinion because the potential for injury during a capture attempt in an urban area is that real. Again, there are no easy answers to this problem, but like you, I hope that this story will eventually have a happy ending.

If my response appeared cavalier, then I apologize. I would very much like to know who banded this bird and when this bird was banded, but unfortunately, your photos do not have sufficient clarity to accurately read the numbers on the band. So for now, we are not able to establish the identity of the bander. If/when their identity can be established, there will be consequences. If you can obtain photos that clearly show readable band numbers, then I would appreciate receiving them.

I am not sure how quickly events will unfold to try to resolve this problem. Those decisions will be up to the experts attempting to capture the bird. I truly wish them success but recognize the potential perils that exist in this process.

Bruce Peterjohn Chief, BBL USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 12100 Beech Forest Rd. Laurel, MD 20708 phone: (301) 497-5646

Dear Mr. Karim:

With all due respect, your photographs do not support your claim that the Red-tailed Hawk's leg is impaired by the bird band. Your photos show that the bird is very capable of using that leg to capture prey (a squirrel), carry prey, and to dismember prey. In essence, it is behaving as a normal wild raptor. We see no need to take any action at this time, but are willing to reassess the situation should circumstances change.

Bruce Peterjohn Chief Bird Banding Lab USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 12100 Beech Forest Rd. Laurel, MD 20708 phone: (301) 497-5646