MONTEREY COUNTY Calif. (KION-TV)- A rare Leucistic red-tailed hawk was released back into the wild on Tuesday after he was found injured in San Benito County.
The hawk was found injured on the ground in San Benito County on August 11. San Benito County does not have a wildlife center so the SPCA Monterey County takes in and rehabilitates injured and orphaned wild animals found in that county.
The hawk was found thin, unable to stand, and suffering from parasites. The hawk also had a large bruise on his chest.
SPCA Monterey County technicians provided pain medications, fluids, and supplemental heat to get the hawk back on his feet.
According to the SPCA, Leucism causes partial loss of all types of pigmentation, leading to white coloration on his feathering. Unlike albinism, leucism does not affect the pigment cells in the eyes. He is also on the older side, as red-tailed hawks have a lifespan of up to 20 years.
Technicians were able to figure out the hawk's age as he arrived to the facility with a band on his leg which showed staff members he hatched in 2009. The hawk was banded in 2009 in Seal Beach, Calif.
After 11 days of being at the facility, the hawk recovered and was able to fly on his own. He was released back into the wild in San Benito County.