Upside down red-tailed hawk found dangling from Durango power line

A red-tailed hawk found itself in a precarious situation last week, hanging upside down from a power line on east 14th Street in Durango. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) District Wildlife Manager Stephanie Taylor rescued the bird on Thursday after receiving a call from a resident. The cause of the red-tailed hawk’s predicament remains a mystery, but it is speculated that the bird may have clipped its wing while flying by or accidentally touched the power line with its talons, shocking itself. CPW spokesman John Livingston stated that the bird seemed unharmed, as it had no burns on its feet and was able to fly off with strength and good form.

Durango experienced strong winds and rains last Thursday, which might have contributed to the hawk’s predicament. Yiyan Li, a professor at Fort Lewis College, explained that electricity flows down the path of least resistance, much like water. If a bird lands with both its feet on the same live wire, the electricity has no reason to flow through the bird. However, if an animal touches two live wires or a live wire while also touching something grounded, such as a utility pole, it can be dangerous for the animal.

It is unusual for a hawk to hang upside down, as smaller birds occasionally do to feed on trees or avoid predators. This event served as a reminder for Durango residents to be cautious and aware of their surroundings, especially during adverse weather conditions.

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