The bird, gender undetermined, was one of three vultures, a Cooper’s hawk and a Swainson’s hawk released by members of Great Basin Wildlife Rescue, a tiny group of volunteer and licensed animal rescuers who rehabilitate and release hundreds of injured birds back into the wild every year.
"It’s just amazing," said Andalya Hall, 15, a Great Basin volunteer and student at Springville High School, who released another vulture. "After helping with these birds, to feed them, clean their pens, weigh them and then get to release them is such an amazing feeling."
In one way or another, each of these raptors — yes, vultures are raptors, just like hawks, falcons and eagles — would have met an untimely end if it hadn’t been for Great Basin’s volunteers. Two vultures had been shot; the third was found with a broken wing. The Swainson’s hawk tumbled from its mother’s nest when it was a chick. The Cooper’s hawk had been struck by a golf ball and, after being released once before, crashed into a Great Basin building last week.