Temperatures are nearing 120 degrees in parched Arizona, and the heat is causing the state’s large raptors to drop from heat stroke.
As many as 20 birds a day are being treated this week by Arizona raptor rescue agencies, including large birds found sitting in traffic.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety reported Thursday a state trooper stopped to investigate a pile of “debris” on Interstate 17 near Camp Verde, and discovered it was a delirious golden eagle. The bird — about the size of a beagle — was unable to fly.
“Turns out this blazing heat was to blame,” Arizona Game & Fish officials posted on Facebook.
The National Weather Service declared an “excessive heat warning” for southern Arizona this week, due to “dangerously hot conditions” in the afternoons. Temperatures have topped 100 degrees many days this month and are predicted to rise as high as 118 degrees in coming days, NWS forecasters say.
Arizona-based raptor rescue Wild At Heart says the golden eagle rescued off Interstate 17 is one of a growing number of “heat stressed” birds it is treating. The eagle was “overheated” rather than injured and recovered after receiving a fluid IV and meal, officials said.
“With 20 raptor intakes today, WAH had its busiest day of 2021 so far as this heat wave is really taking a toll on the young birds,” the agency reported Thursday.
“Please put out water for our young birds that can’t fly yet to water and all the birds and wildlife that need shade and water to survive this summer.”
Extreme heat in Arizona has also been known to cause some species of hawks to leave the nest too early, leaving them stuck on the ground and unable to fly, according to Tucson Audubon Society.
The agency says concerned people should avoid picking up the fallen hawks “unless they are in imminent danger from a predator. Their parents are nearby and are taking care of them.”