||25 years old|
||Reddington Shores, Florida, USA|
isn't a pet, she's actually one of my best friends.
Isis was a wild red-tailed hawk who was injured in 1980 or so. She was
brought to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Reddington Shores, FL gravely
injured and very emaciated. With much care and attention she pulled through,
but it was then determined that she was blind or had very limited vision in
her left eye. With this existing condition, she could not be released back
into the wild because she would not be able to hunt successfully; her depth
perception was compromised. So Isis remained a permanent resident of the
Sanctuary and they began working with her to glove train her so that she could
be handled and possibly become an educational bird.
I first met Isis about twelve years ago when I became an employee of the Suncoast
Seabird Sanctuary. I was taught to handle her and, although we had a bit of a
rocky start, we are now best of friends. I think she is the most beautiful
creature that I have ever seen and I have to say that I love her with all my
heart. We worked together to build trust and now she allows me to touch her
so I can clip her nails and change her jesses (the leather straps used to
tether her) while she sits rather calmly on my gloved hand. We used to have
to hold her to do these things. I volunteer at the Sanctuary now so I only
see her once a week or so, but we always spend time together. I take her out
to the beach and we walk into the wind so that she can hover, or we sit in the
sun and enjoy each other's company. Many people come up to ask questions
about her and take pictures. It is a fabulous opportunity to educate people
about the wild birds of Florida, hawks in particular.
Isis is about 25 years old, which is a quite old for a hawk, but she is
healthy and beautiful, even at this great age.
I included one shot with her tail showing... it's the only one I have! If I
take pictures, they are usually head shots because she is sitting on the
gauntlet on my left arm and I am shooting with my right hand. She is fed once
a day and she eats rats, mice, chicks and the occasional quail. In the wild
she would have also eaten snakes and squirrels.
Red-tailed hawks are usually much bigger than the red-shouldered hawks,
especially the females. Their backs are darker - they don't have the
stippling that the red-shoulders do on their backs and wings. Yes, the tail
is the dead give-away, but once you learn how to spot them, you will never
mistake a red-tailed hawk for a red-shouldered again!
The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is open to the public seven days a week, 365 days a
year. There is no entry fee, it is all by donation and the Sanctuary is run
by donations alone. Their website is
I named my new website (and business) after the influence and joy that Isis
has brought to me and call it Red-tailed Music.
She is my sister with feathers!
View more images of Isis!
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