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S.L. firefighters rescue hawk, return it to it nest

SALT LAKE CITY — Firefighters found themselves in a rescue Monday they had never experienced before — returning a hawk, which appeared to have fallen from a tree, back to its home.

“I personally, in over 25 years, have never had a call to return a bird of prey to its nest,” Salt Lake Fire Capt. Steve Crandall said.

Firefighters responded to the call near 1850 E. Michigan Ave., where they found the bird in a neighbor’s yard.

Alison King was the first to spot it from across the street.

“I saw this little thing just sitting there, under a tree, and I thought, ‘What are you?” she said. “It just looked so tired and worn out and hot.”

King’s daughter, Olivia King Christensen, suggested they call the fire department.

Crandall said he reached out to a fellow fire captain who also is a falconer to get an idea how firefighters should approach the situation.

“He assured us that if we just didn’t hurt the bird, everything would be OK,” Crandall said.

Firefighter Harrison Long was tasked with carrying the hawk up the fire truck’s extended ladder to its nest.

“He had two siblings, I guess, with him, and his mom was watching me from a branch away,” Long said. “One of his wings had come out and he was trying to flap it a little bit, as we were climbing up the ladder. He held it together just enough for us to get him back in.”

Long said as he climbed down the ladder, the mother hawk returned to the nest to check on its young.

The rescue was captured on smartphone video by King and by KSL-TV's John Hollenhorst, who was returning home from a bicycle ride.

Christensen praised firefighters for their efforts and how they handled an unfamiliar situation.

“They were up there within minutes, so they were great,” she said.

King smiled as she embraced Christensen.

“We’ve got a mother and daughter reunited by a mother and daughter,” King laughed.