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Man sets trapped hawk free at Cape Coral tattoo shop

Posted at 10:41 PM, Jan 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 22:41:59-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Jeff Nelson stopped by True Alchemy for some new ink, but he was in for a surprise. Before he walked inside he saw a red-shouldered hawk stuck in the roof of the tattoo shop. His tattoo artist said it had been there for at least two days.

Nelson said his conscience wouldn’t let him walk away.

“To see something like that and know it’s probably going to die in a day or two because of lack of food and water. I didn’t feel very good at all,” he said.

He called Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife or CROW to set it free, but he said he got tired of waiting for them to come, so he decided to rescue it himself.

As a retired firefighter Nelson said the height of the roof didn’t scare him. It was wondering what the bird would do.

“I didn’t know if he was going to come after me. I didn’t know,” he said.

But he said it was a risk he was willing to take. Nelson said he thinks the bird climbed in through an opening in the soffit, a part of the roof, but it wasn’t the same way he could get out.

“He went back to the entrance where he got in through the soffit he would fly and smack the window and that’s the way he thinks he could get out because he can’t see the glass,” he said.

It took a few failed attempts, but then…

“[I] ended up prying it open and he got out,” said Nelson. “Thank God when we opened the window when he hit he fell straight down and he’s sitting there at the opening and you’ll see in the video. He’s just sitting there staring probably a little bit dazed. Then he finally flies out.”

Nelson said now he can rest tonight.

“If I hadn’t had done something and left, I would’ve worried about that bird dying tonight. And now that I know that he’s free, I feel 100% better,” he said.