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I don't know whether she was a chicken farmer or a smallholder who had some chickens, but she had at least one chicken pen, with an electric door that had stuck open a few inches. She didn't think a hawk would get in there before she got it fixed. But goshawks do run along the ground, like their velociraptor ancestors, and the immature Northern Goshawk that crept under the stuck-open door killed five chickens before dawn. At least five; the farmer brought us five dead chickens in a bucket to see if we had any use for them, but that might have been just the ones the goshawk didn't eat. Anyway, it got into the chicken pen, but couldn't figure out how to get out, and scraped itself up trying, so the farmer brought it to us, along with its leftovers.

It only has some abrasions, so we should be able to release it soon; the farmer asked us kindly not to release it right near her place.
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Today I got to watch someone cope (that is, trim) the beak and talons of a barn owl. This bird has a persistent wing droop that has kept it at the raptor center for a while. It doesn't cooperate with being restrained, but it doesn't fight much either. (There's a tiny screech owl that's been there for a couple weeks, and both times I've seen it handled, I've seen it injure its handler. There's a reason up-to-date tetanus shots are the first requirement of a volunteer.)

The bird's beak and talons grow like fingernails, and if the bird doesn't wear them down, or wears them down unevenly, they need to be trimmed. To restrain a bird, you cover it with a drape, like a cut-open pillowcase. If they can't see, they can't fly, and also they are less likely (though not unlikely) to try to attack you. So one person holds the bird, with the bird's back to his chest and his hands around the bird's legs, and the other uses a Dremel to grind the beak and the talons closer to their ideal shape. This is not to blunt them, mind you; we don't want to take away the bird's weapons, we want to make them less likely to crack.


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