EDMOND — As a veterinarian, Jason Smart never knows what he'll see come through White Oaks Veterinarian Clinic on any given day, but usually the surprises don't come when he's away from his office.
In July, Smart was driving along Waterloo Road when he happened upon a hawk that had been struck by a car. The bird had a cut on his wing and was unable to fly.
“I had my fiance drive and I held onto him,” Smart said. “I put a towel over his eyes to reduce his stress a little bit. He wasn't too happy about it but we were able to get him back to the clinic.”
The X-rays revealed the bird's wing was not fractured. Smart kept him at the clinic for two weeks, giving him antibiotics to prevent infection.
The hawk then was transferred to WildCare Foundation in Cleveland County. That organization receives about 4,500 wild animals each year with the goal of rehabbing them and returning them to the wild.
WildCare Director Rondi Large said birds have the ability to rehab in an 80-foot-long aviary that has cedar trees inside. Space is critical for the rehabilitation of injuries to birds, she said.
“If you think of it in terms of a human athlete, if they were only given one room to walk around in ... you wouldn't be able to get into condition for a marathon,” she said. “The aviary allows them to fly and land and perch in trees. It's a very natural way to rebuild strength in a safe environment.”