As Lark Carrier made her way home from Boston on the evening of May 3 she glimpsed a bird flailing about on the center line of Route 1 near Damariscotta. Carrier said she continued on for a few moments before her conscience got the best of her.

“I had to turn around,” she explained. “I couldn’t just leave [the bird] there.”

When Carrier returned she said a truck was pulled over on the side of the road. It was apparent the injured avian was no songbird. Before Carrier and her fellow good Samaritan stood a bird of prey which was later identified as a broad-winged hawk. The bird could stand and its wings did not appear to be broken, according to Carrier. She said she noticed a small amount of blood on the bird’s back. The other driver had bundled together a pile of clothing and Carrier volunteered a dog kennel she happened to have in her vehicle. Shielded by layers of fabric the two maneuvered the distressed bird into the kennel and called Avian Haven in Freedom. Carrier made arrangements to transport the bird to her Rockport home where volunteer from the organization was dispatched to pick up the bird later that evening.

Since Diane Winn and Marc Payne opened Avian Haven in 1999 their caseload has increased from 300 to 1,300 birds annually according to the organization’s website. Avian Haven employs a year-round staff and their comprehensive bird rehabilitation facility is renowned throughout New England for offering care suited to all bird species facing various adverse circumstances. To date Avian Haven has treated more than 12,000 birds from more than 100 species and they’re certified to treat wild bird species including endangered birds.

On the morning of Monday, May 7, Winn said the broad-winged hawk rescued by Carrier is “still with us.” Winn said X-rays determined the hawk does not have any broken bones but has a “serious laceration on it’s lower back requiring sutures.” Winn said the hawk also sustained an eye injury for which the “prognosis is also uncertain.” She said it’s unknown whether the extent of the bird’s injuries will prove fatal.

Although the bird was discovered in the road Winn said “it’s hard to say” how the injuries occurred.

“It’s not the type of wound we’d expect from a car strike,” she said.

Winn said Avian Haven generally sees around a dozen broad-winged hawks each year and said the species is a fairly common, medium-sized raptor indigenous to the Northeast.

Winn said when a passerby discovers an injured raptor, some safety precautions must be taken.

“Keep your bare hands away from [the bird’s] feet. Their talons are their weapon,” she said.

Winn recommends wearing gloves and throwing a towel over the bird before transporting it to a “warm, dark, well-ventilated box with padding on the bottom.” Winn noted it’s important to make sure the box has a secure lid or door.

Avian Haven has a team of volunteers to transport injured birds from various towns to the rehabilitation facility in Freedom, Winn said. She said the organization welcomes new volunteers who are willing and able to retrieve found birds and transport them to Avian Haven.

Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or via email at