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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Hawk Crashes Into Window And Gets Hurt, But Irving Park Neighbors Spring Into Action To Rescue It

The Cooper's hawk couldn't fly after the accident, but it tried to walk away on its own down the street. It's now on its way to a bird sanctuary for rehab.

Photos of the hawk taken by Crystal Linzemann‎ on July 24, 2019.
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IRVING PARK — Irving Park neighbors sprang into action after an injured hawk crashed into a window Wednesday night. 

At about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, neighbor Cystal Linzemann heard a loud thud against her apartment window near Cullom and Lawndale avenues.

“It sounded like somebody throwing a newspaper at my window,” Linzemann‎ said. “But that was the sound of the bird floundering.”

Because she lives in a garden unit and the building has a wrought iron fence around it, Linzemann‎ thinks the hawk may have fallen or run into something else before it arrived at her window. 

When she went outside to get a better look at the hawk, she saw it was hobbling and trying to hide under a bush. Linzemann called Animal Care and Control and then posted a photo of the bird to a neighborhood Facebook page. 

The population of hawks in the city has been on the rise since at least 2009, and they’ve been spotted nesting in and near the Northwest Side. 

“I thought maybe my neighbors would know something and could help point me towards which rescue organization I should contact,” she said.

In the meantime, she and a neighbor kept an eye on the hawk, which began to try and leave the area on foot because it was unable to fly. Linzemann snapped another photo of the bird as it made its way down the residential street. 

The bird “walked itself across the street and down the block. When we got close it would puff itself up and flap its wings to try to scare people off,” Linzemann said. “When it crawled under a pine tree inside someone’s yard, one of my neighbors got a towel and a box and was able to scoop him up.”

While the rescue operation was underway, people following Linzemann told her about local rescue organizations, including Flint Creek Wildlife and Chicago Bird Collision Monitors. She contacted both and left messages explaining an injured hawk needed help.

About 10 minutes later, a volunteer with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors who lived near Irving and Cicero arrived on scene.

On Thursday morning, volunteers with the rescue transported the injured bird to the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in suburban Glen Ellyn. Once there, a veterinarian was slated to evaluate the hawk’s injuries.

“Hawks are an adaptable bird and are often in urban environments because they are tracking their prey, often smaller birds, who are coming to feed from a bird feeder people put in their yards,” said Annette Prince, director of Chicago Bird Collision Monitors. “But when hawks are chasing a small bird in flight, they hunt low and are so focused they don’t notice the glass in front of them from a window. They’re moving so fast using short bursts of capture speed that if they were out in a field there wouldn’t be anything really for them to run into.”

When a hawk slams into an obstacle at capture speed, they can injure their head, wings or legs. Looking at the photos taken of the bird, Prince identified it as a Cooper’s hawk, a common “backyard bird” that’s often seen in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Looking back on the whole ordeal, Linzemann‎ thanked her neighbors who quickly connected her with a bird rescue that could help.

“I didn’t see certain kinds of wildlife until I moved to Irving Park, like raccoons, possums and bats. All kinds of things. If it wasn’t for my neighbors telling me where to call, I would have no idea how to help this animal,” Linzemann‎ said.

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