Zoo officials today announced the return of Tucson, a Harris hawk missing since February 21st.
He broke his jesses and flew away when a loud sound startled him.
Tucson had been missing for almost five weeks when a property owner just outside Tulsa, Oklahoma noticed the bird resting on his lawn. The owner approached the bird and was surprised that it didn't fly away. Thinking it might be hurt, the owner called a raptor rehabilitator in the area who then called Ryan VanZant, president of the Oklahoma Falconers' Association.
When VanZant arrived at the property, Tucson immediately jumped on his gloved arm. VanZant saw the bird had an identification band and anklets and figured that a falconer had lost the bird. He began calling members of the Oklahoma Falconers' Association to try and identify the owner of the bird but had no luck. He posted a message on the association's website about the missing bird and that's when Rusty Scarborough, a member of the Arkansas Hawking Association, saw the post.
Scarborough had seen another post on the Arkansas Hawking Association's website by Zoo Curator Joe Darcangelo, also a member of the Arkansas Hawking Association, asking members of the association to be on the look-out for Tucson. Scarborough called Darcangelo to confirm that the band numbers were the same. Trey Raglin, a trainer for the Zoo's Wild Wonders program currently attending college in Fayetteville, picked-up the bird from VanZant in Bartlesville, OK and Zoo Director Mike Blakely made the trip to Fayetteville to retrieve Tucson over the weekend. Tucson was examined by Zoo staff and appears to be in good health.
Tucson, a Harris hawk, is part of the Zoo's Wild Wonders Animal Show and is trained to fly glove-to-glove over audience members' heads. The hawk is native to the southwestern part of the country and has lived at the Little Rock Zoo since 2001 when he was donated by Scarborough.
Zoo officials say since Tucson has been out in the wild, he will need to be quarantined for 30 days to be sure he was not exposed to any diseases.