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Missing injured hawk found weeks after escaping tree-damaged pen in Baltimore County

Injured missing hawk located miles away from Baltimore County nature center
Injured missing hawk located miles away from Baltimore County nature center 02:25

BALTIMORE -- A partially blind red-tailed hawk named "Stella" is safe and sound after escaping from a tree-damaged pen at Oregon Ridge Nature Center seven weeks ago. 

But this is not the first time the bird has beaten the odds of survival.

Hope of finding Stella was dwindling, according to Jessica Jeannetta with Baltimore County Recreation and Parks, until a sighting this past Sunday.

"There were a lot of tears of joy," Jeannetta said.

Perry Hall residents spotted Stella in their backyard, some 20 miles away from the Cockeysville park where she flew the coop.

Stella sports anklets, a clue used to confirm the bird's potential identity. 

"She only found out after doing some Google searching on the internet and looked up 'missing hawk in the area' and that's when she found the nature center," Jeanetta said. 

The hawk was taken to Phoenix Wildlife Center in Baldwin, a rehabilitation non-profit. 

Kathleen Woods, executive director of Phoenix Wildlife Center,  said an exam revealed Stella had a few injuries to her bill and, judging by dramatic weight loss, she was surviving but not thriving. 

"The most striking thing was the weight loss," Woods said. "She came in at 2 pounds and she should be almost 5 pounds."

Caretakers will now work to help the hawk recover. However, this isn't Stella's first run-in with a frightful fate. 

As a young bird in West Virginia, Stella was deemed un-releasable and was brought to the Cockeysville nature center, according to Jeanetta. 

"She had been hit by a car, was blind in the right eye and then upon that injury, they also found that she had been shot and had shrapnel throughout her body," Jeanetta said.

Before escaping, Stella was used as an education ambassador; a title staff hopes she will reclaim after making a full recovery. 

Woods roughly estimates Stella's full recovery taking about six weeks.

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