David Eblovi releases a red tail hawk

David Eblovi releases a red tail hawk on the coast on Monday. The bird, which had experience with people, was burdened by over-long jesses when Eblovi, an experienced falconer, came to the rescue. Photo courtesy Jan Null

Coastal wildlife fans came together last week in an effort to rescue a hawk, which after being fed and cared for, was released on Monday.

After numerous people posted photos on Nextdoor of a red tail hawk being dragged down with inhumane two-foot-long leather restraints on each foot, Half Moon Bay resident David Eblovi and his family caught it and released it from the jesses.

“The second image I saw deeply concerned me because she was carrying what looked like what we would call in falconry, a jess, but a horribly mutated form of jess,” said Eblovi.

Eblovi, who has experience as a falconer and has trained and flown red tail hawks previously, said these types of restraints are immoral. If the bird were to escape, as this one seems to have, it would die. These restraints were so big the bird could barely fly due to the excess weight. Eblovi said there was enough material on the devices to make three dozen traditional jesses from material on each leg.

Eblovi, his 14-year-old child and another licensed falconer rescued the bird, put on traditional jesses, and fed her.

“She’d clearly been around humans,” said Eblovi. “Normally when you take a wild bird like that, it could be a week or more before the bird will sit on your fist and eat. She literally sat on my fist the moment we took her out.”

Other than some short-term injuries and malnutrition, the bird was in fairly good condition. They had wanted to release her earlier, but with the storms over the weekend they decided to wait until things cleared up on Monday.

“Storms are a double whammy because they hit them from an energy standpoint and they can’t hunt effectively,” said Eblovi.

The hawk was safely released in healthy condition in an undisclosed location on Monday thanks to Eblovi and help from the community.

“The really cool thing for me about this was the community coming together to do something positive and it was completely apolitical,” said Eblovi. “I’ve been involved in a lot of things over the years and most of them have some political involvement one way or the other, and this is the first time I think I’ve ever been involved in something where everybody was in absolute agreement that it was the right thing to do. I think that’s a good net positive for the community.”

Emma Spaeth is a staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review covering community, arts and sports. Emma grew up in Half Moon Bay before earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

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