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Dispatch from Julie: Red-tailed Hawk Dies by Gunshot

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Red-tailed Hawk in Hopkinton

I can’t believe I am writing this.

This is a young Red-tailed Hawk I picked up on Chestnut Street on Tuesday, January 17, after the homeowner noticed her grounded. I immediately brought her to Tufts. Unfortunately, she passed away, not even making it through the night. Upon X-Ray, Tufts discovered this was not an impact injury. She had been shot. The Environmental Police do not have the budget to perform ballistic analysis, but it appeared to be shotgun pellets.

I feel it necessary to remind the public that it is ILLEGAL UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES to shoot ANY bird of prey. They are federally protected under the Migratory Species Act, and if convicted of killing one, fines can be up to $15,000 per incident. Even if you catch a hawk eyeing your chickens, it is illegal to kill them. It is up to us to protect our chickens and domestic animals with enclosures.

It is also worth noting that shotgun hunting season ended on December 10.

I hope this post is circulated far and wide. Whoever did it may never be caught, but maybe it will deter someone from doing something similarly heinous one day.

R.I.P. Beautiful hawk. You deserved better.

P.S. This Hawk was always around the conservation land, which is called Braim Farm, behind Bloods Pond, for anyone in the area. We saw her almost daily.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The same kind of incident happened in the town of Holliston. I was driving down the street from my house and saw a red tail hawk on it’s back flapping it’s wings and kicking it’s feet. i pulled over to see what the problem was and the hawk died in my hands. I looked to see what was wrong and discovered and discovered blood coming from a small hole in it’s back. i believe it was shop with a 22 or a pellet gun.
    There are people not far from that site that have chickens and they probably shot the hawk. I called the Environmental Police they said they would send an officer to check the area.
    I buried the hawk in the back yard and still am very pissed that some one would shoot such a majestic bird.

  2. There is no excuse for poaching. Nor for killing for non-game species like birds of prey. That said there is an important error in the article. Shotgun season for deer ended on December 9th and I am pretty sure the only legal shot in Massachusetts is a large single slug. That said there are still open hunting seasons, like squirrel and rabbit (which ends February 28th), which also use shotguns and use the pellets most people associate with shotgun hunting. I hope the perpetrator is caught and fully prosecuted. Massachusetts hunting regulations can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/hunting-regulations and a summary of the hunting seasons can be found here: https://www.mass.gov/doc/2023-hunting-season-summary/download.

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