Patient Story: Cooper’s Hawk – window strike

UPDATE: Unfortunately, after all of the hospital staff’s efforts, the hawk declined in health over the following weeks. The bird’s progression came to a dead halt, and the difficult decision for humane euthanasia was made. Sadly, despite anyone’s best efforts, sometimes animals cannot come back from their injuries, nor will they ever be comfortable enough for captive care. Our wildlife rehabilitators put their all into each and every one of our patients, and while this is a discouraging outcome, they never give up hope for future patients.


UPDATE: As of February 4, the hawk is making small improvements and standing on it’s feet in the enclosure. While this is certainly an improvement, the hawk is still having some difficulty with coordination.

This type of slow improvement is very common among rehabilitation cases. Some injuries are able to heal overnight, while some takes weeks or months to heal properly and completely. Our licensed Wildlife Rehabilitation Staff take healing to the fullest extent very seriously – our goal is always to offer a wild animal the best chance of survival after release, so full recovery is necessary. It requires a great deal of patience, and counting small victories, to get an animal all the way to release.


On January 9, 2019 a Cooper’s Hawk from Woodbury, NJ was presented to the hospital by Animal Control.  The bird had been collected from a private residence after colliding with, and going through a residential house window. (Yes, going THROUGH the window!)  It is suspected that the bird was trying to avoid a nearby clothes line, and didn’t see the window.  The bird suffered head trauma, and is on medication for pain and swelling.  His prognosis is guarded due to the severity of his injuries.

Unfortunately, window strikes are not unusual for birds – over 1 million birds a day are fatally wounded from window collisions.  Birds can sustain major injuries from the impact; including fractured bones, head trauma, internal bleeding, and spinal damage.   Birds lack the ability to see clear glass windows, which often reflect the surrounding trees/lawn/habitat, and try to fly through them.  If you’d like your house to be more bird-friendly, try making your windows more visible to birds with visible barriers: decals and screens can be installed on the external surface of windows, closing drapes, blinds and curtains (especially at night when inside lights are on), and positioning bird feeders away from windows.

If you’ve admitted a wildlife patient and are interested in it’s progress, please refer to your admission paperwork for how to proceed. Please refrain from calling to inquire about updates – we need to keep the lines open for emergency wildlife calls.

Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to NJ’s native wildlife, and thus is sustained by donations from generous supporters, like you! Donations can be made out to Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge or can be given electronically through our website at

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