Trapped hawk set free by firefighters

The rescued hawk
The rescued hawk

A WIGAN fire crew swooped into action to rescue a bird of prey that had been entangled in a tree and may have been stuck for several days.

A passer-by had spotted the trapped Harris hawk off Church Road in Astley on Saturday evening and contacted the RSPCA.

The rescue team

The rescue team

The hawk had become attached to a branch by a thin leather strap – called a Jess - used by falconers to keep control of the bird while it is being trained.

Atherton station’s blue watch manager Andy Leyland said: “When we arrived, the hawk was hanging upside down but didn’t seem injured or overly distressed.

“It was quite a distance up so we used a ladder and the cut the branch and were able to securely lower it down to a waiting RSPCA officer who was then able to detach the hawk from the branch.

“It’s hard to tell but it seemed fine and when it was placed in the animal box it was up on its feet as normal (pictured above).”

RSPCA officer Lorna Campbell said there was a high possibility the bird had been micro-chipped and could be returned to its owner.

Watch manager Leyland added: “The hawk was not visible from the road so the member of the public may have heard it flapping before they spotted it.

“We’ve never had anything like this before with a bird of prey. We’re not sure how long it was up there but it could have been for a few days .”

The hawk rescue is not the first time a borough fire crew has been called upon to help a stricken feathered friend.

Last month officers rescued a 30-year-old man who had become stuck while attempting to rescue his pet parrot in a tree off Ince Green Lane playing fields. Both were brought back to ground level safely with not a broken bone or beak between them.

Figures released last year revealed borough crews have been involved in dozens of animal rescues in recent years including horses, pigs, chickens and birds.