Hawk Release in Golden Gate Park – On the Scene with Bill Wilson

By Bill Wilson
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2011

The red tailed hawk that was discovered in Golden Gate Park with a nail in its head and was rescued ten days ago has recovered from the wound. Judged well enough to survive on its own it was released back into the wild at the same spot where it was captured.


Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg and Animal Care and Control Lt. Le-Ellis Brown watch the hawk take off. Photo by Bill Wilson

When the door to its cage was opened by Lt. Brown it was a few seconds before the hawk swooped out and flew to a nearby tree. Under the watchful eye of some students from Diane Feinstein Elementary School the hawk posed on a tree limb as media recorded the scene.


Students watch the hawk land in a nearby tree after being released. Photo by Bill Wilon

The hawk seemed to enjoy the media spotlight as it stayed in the tree long enough for everyone to get a good look and a few pictures. If it can be said that a bird that sustained such an injury is lucky then this hawk is indeed lucky because the nail did not pierce his breathing cavity or any vital organs so it was able to eat and breathe.


Hawk sits in tree after being released. Photo by Bill Wilson

Much to the delight of the people still watching when the hawk flew to a second bigger tree further away she was joined by an older male hawk who landed on the same tree. Then the older hawk flew away and soon after did the newly released hawk. As I walked back to my car there were six other hawks flying in the skies above the park.


Hawk prepares to leave its first perch. Photo by Bill Wilson

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Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past seven years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.

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