“It was beautiful, very, very, beautiful,” said fourth-grader Kylie Guitar. “When they released it, I almost cried.”
The bird — a female weighing about 3 pounds — was rescued in early November after it was struck by a car on Interstate 205, according to Ashley Kinney, wildlife rehabilitation supervisor with the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley in San Jose.
A woman had seen the bird in the roadway and drove it to the wildlife center.
Students were invited to watch the release at Kenner Park because the school’s location on Kavanagh Avenue is close to the park. The park was chosen because the bird had to be released within three miles of where it was found, Kinney said.
Once at the center, the hawk underwent extensive treatment for two broken bones in its right wing.
“It’s definitely lucky to be alive; fortunate to be picked up by somebody who cares,” Kinney said.
As Kinney slowly opened the bird carrier, students strained in their seats on the nearby grass to see the animal as it emerged.
The nearby students burst into cheers and applause as the hawk took flight and flew into a nearby pine tree.
After the event, the students expressed their reaction to the bird’s release.
“Oh my God, that was amazing,” said fifth grader Jayda Morales. “I always wanted to see a bird released.”
Fourth-grader Cydney Macon said it was “was really cool, because we got to see the bird and see the bird set free.”
Her classmate, Maria Turner, said she felt sorry the bird got hurt, but was happy that it was set free.
Principal Cindy Sasser said she was “excited” to witness the rare sight.
“We just don’t have the opportunity to see something like this happen so close to us, and just the fact that there are agencies that are out there to help animals,” she said.
Since this was the first time a school was allowed to take part in a wildlife release, Kinney took the opportunity to answer questions from the students regarding the bird’s habitats, diet and identifiable markings.
A few Tracy families also enjoyed the spectacle at Kenner Park.
“I think this is really cool,” said Georgie Solorzano, who brought her 6-year-old daughter, Veronica. “This just teaches the kids so much. It’s an opportunity to see nature at its finest. It’s pretty special that we get to see this.”
Holding a drawing of the hawk, Veronica said she likes birds and hoped to someday become a veterinarian.
To thank the rescue center for allowing the students to take part in the release, each class collected toilet paper and paper towels. Kinney told the students the items on the rescue’s wish list would be used to build baby bird nests and cleanup around the rescue.
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.