MANATEE -- A loud boom and the sound of breaking glass from upstairs startled Crystal Gibson.
The young mother was working with a group of toddlers at Spain Family Day Care Home when she heard the disturbing racket about noon Thursday.
It sounded like a car crashing into the second story, she said.
Climbing the stairs of the Palma Sola home, she saw a hole the size of a basketball in a kitchen window, a bloodied hawk sitting on the bar, and glass littering the floor.
The bird, possibly a red-tailed hawk, had crashed through the window and was clearly stunned. It later flew to the back of the house.
Wildlife Inc. Education and Rehabilitation Center on Anna Maria Island was summoned to rescue the bird.
On Friday, the juvenile hawk was leisurely jumping from one perch to another in an aviary next to several owls at Wildlife Inc.
Ed Straight, who runs the federally and state-licensed center with his wife, Gail, said the hawk looked like it would be fine and that he expected to return it to the wild in a few days.
Birds frequently fly into windows, many times while pursuing prey, Straight said.
“It’s really doing good. We’re observing the pupils. It’s one way to look for head injuries,” said Straight.
“It’s kind of interesting that it’s here, rather than out east,” he said.
Having a bird of prey in the house was not only unnerving for Gibson. The family dog, a Lab, was barking hysterically.
“I was wondering how do I get this bird out of the house? How am I going to explain this to my parents?” Gibson said.
Friday, the window was boarded up, waiting for a replacement.
It’s not the first time a bird has had an encounter with the house.
A trapezoid-shaped window just above the one smashed by the hawk bears a BB-size hole and a long crack after being hit by a pileated woodpecker.
That collision knocked the woodpecker unconscious.
After a while, “it got up, shook it off, and flew away,” Gibson said.
On another occasion a few years ago, she found a baby screech owl in the driveway and it, too, was rescued by Wildlife Inc., which has been serving the area for nearly a quarter century.
When Tom and Marlene Spain got the call about the hawk, they were visiting relatives in Tennessee.
“You could tell she was in a real panic. It sounded like something horrible had happened,” said Tom Spain, back in Bradenton on Friday.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at (941) 745-7021.