Rare Bird Injured by Errant Golf Ball

A rare white hawk had an encounter with fate this spring on a Colorado golf course.

He was hit by an errant golf ball on the Legacy Ridge Golf course in April.

The large raptor's left wing was badly shattered.

Veterinarian Dr. Lee Eggleston was able to pin the wing during a surgery in April and the hawk is now recuperating at the Birds Of Prey Center in Broomfield.

The big raptor is a red-tailed hawk, although he's almost completely white.

He has a black patch on his head, and three red tail feathers.

"He's not an albino, he's an albinistic hawk. The odds against that are about one in 30,000," said Sigrid Eublacker. "We're calling him 'My Hawk,' because everyone comes into the foundation and asks, 'How's my hawk doing?'"

Eublacker says the bird is doing very well.

"He's beginning to fly again. He's not ready to go yet, but he has all the time in the world. We don't rush them through, here," she said.

The Birds of Prey Foundation takes in 400 to 500 birds each year, many of them injured.

"We're able to rescue and release more than 60 percent of them," said Eublacker.  "I've been rescuing birds for about 28 years. I've always loved animals and there's an invisible sign on my door that says, 'animals welcome here.' My daughter once brought home two tiny birds. We raised them to maturity and released them. I got hooked on birds."

Eublacker said the foundation passed another milestone just last Thursday.

"We took in our 10,000th bird. Appropriately it was a little American kestrel. Most of the raptors we get here are kestrels," she said.

The foundation also cares for a variety of owls, eagles and falcons.

It's expensive to care for the injured raptors.

Eublacker says it costs about $250 a month just to feed one bald eagle.

As for the white hawk, Eublacker said she's heard for some time that such a bird was soaring in the skies over Westminster and has gotten pictures from people who were curious about the bird.

"He raises a family each year. He has a mate who is normal colored and he raises a family every year. It was a really sad day when he was admitted here. He had a fractured humerus where the golf ball hit him," said Eublacker. "The person who hit him felt very bad."

"My Hawk" did very well after surgery, according to Eublacker.

"He never missed a meal," she said.