After a group of teenagers saw a hawk struggling in the water off of Bonita Beach, they did not stop until they got the bird home to safety.
It was an unexpected holiday rescue. Two teenagers jet skiing on the 4th of July by Doc’s Beach House on Bonita Beach, when they came across a young, Red-Shouldered Hawk.
Tim Thompson, a volunteer with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, said he got in his car to drive to the scene. There, he picked the bird up, which was soaking wet.
“It was 200 yards off and it was totally exhausted,” Thompson said. “Between the time they got the bird comfortable, they said was about 20 minutes and then it crawled up on one of the young men’s arms, which is really great.”
Thompson rushed the bird to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital.
Joanna Fitzgerald, the director at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital, said hawks are rarely found in the water. She said the quick action might have saved the bird’s life.
“Even when he was being handled, he wasn’t very responsive trying to fight back or anything,” Fitzgerald said. “His feathers were very matted looking kind of from the saltwater.”
Antibiotics and a few days of rest later, the feathery guy is recovering beautifully. It is all thanks to the two teens who gave up their paid-for-time on their jet skis to bring the bird to safety.
“We’re really grateful that the kids cared enough to take the time to help him,” Fitzgerald said.
“I spoke with one of them,” Thompson said. “I just told him I was very proud of him.”