Medina fire Lt. Larry Walters rescued a red-tail hawk Wednesday in Medina Township. At right is Laura Jordan, executive director of the Medina Raptor Center, cradling the hawk.
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MEDINA TWP. — Medina fire Lt. Larry Walters, using ropes, eased his way up a tree where a red-tailed hawk had become stuck 60 feet up.
The hawk “was trapped in a tree all night,” Medina Fire Chief Bob Painter said Wednesday. “In another hour, he wouldn’t have made it.”
Walters, an expert in high-angle rope rescue, used the department’s 35-foot ladder to get part of the way up the tree in the 4800 block of Greenleaf Way, and climbed the rest of the way using a harness and ropes to where the hawk was stuck and hanging.
“It was an amazing rescue,” said Laura Jordan, executive director of the Medina Raptor Center. “I was blown away by their kindness and generosity and how worried they were about this hawk.”
She said Walters, 43, was so gentle with the bird. He placed it in a pillow case and brought it down to the ground, where she was waiting.
“Larry was unbelievable,” Jordan said. “He climbed that tree and eased it down. (The hawk) was so exhausted from fighting (to get free). He didn’t have much left.”
Jordan said she gave the hawk some fluids and pain meds when she got it back to the raptor center in Spencer, where it was resting comfortably Wednesday night.
“He’s definitely sore,” she said. “He hung for almost 24 hours in that tree.”
The hawk has a 4ﾽ-foot wing span and Jordan estimated it’s at least 5 years old.
“I haven’t tried to feed him yet,” she said. “I’m trying to replace the fluids he lost.”
Jordan said she can’t figure out how the hawk got stuck. She said perhaps the hawk was going after a squirrel and somehow got its leg caught.
“It’s a wonder (he didn’t die),” she said.
Jordan said she received a call Tuesday night, but there was nothing she could do.
“At my age — I’m an old lady — I couldn’t climb the tree,” she said. “It was dark. I didn’t think anyone could rescue that bird.”
Painter said it was a blessing that Walters, who also teaches rope safety, was working Wednesday and able to begin the rescue about 8 a.m.
“Within an hour, he was up there,” he said. “It was our feel-good call of the week.”
He added: “It looked horrid seeing it hang there. It was good training for our guys.”
“It was a good thing to be able to do,” said Walters, who’s been with the Medina department for more than 20 years. “The bird was clearly injured. It was a matter of if we could find a way to get up there safely, we were going to do it. Fortunately, we got the bird.”
“This was very unique,” he said. “Most of the rescues we train for are with people. This could have been a young boy that climbed up a tree and got stuck.”
Jordan said hawks mate for life, and Painter noted the hawk’s mate was up there flying around Tuesday night “screeching.”
“They must have a nest nearby,” she said.
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or email@example.com.