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Happy holidays to everyone except whoever shot this hawk with an arrow

Red-tailed hawks are graceful and extremely well adapted to life with human beings. Well, some human beings.

Red-tailed hawks are graceful and extremely well adapted to life with human beings. Well, some human beings. Getty Images/iStockphoto

We at City Pages would like to wish a peaceful and joyous holiday season to each and every one of you -- except the dingus who thought it would be a good idea to shoot a red-tailed hawk with an arrow.

The University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center first heard about this shining moment in human history back in late November, when someone called about a hawk that was flying around the Brooklyn Center area with an arrow longer than itself lodged in its leg.

For several days, staff were unable to locate the ailing animal, until it was finally captured last week near the East Bank campus.

By the looks of it, Raptor Center Director Julia Ponder says, some feckless dildo saw the young hawk perched overhead, took a potshot, and shattered its leg joint, rendering it unable to hunt or stave off lifelong pain if it were ever released into the wild. Meaning, 1) someone probably did this on purpose even though it’s illegal and mindlessly cruel, and 2) the raptor would never live a full and comfortable life. It was already hungry and a little thin when the center got ahold of it.

Now, illegally shooting federally protected raptors, while mind-blowingly asinine, isn’t all that uncommon. The Raptor Center finds all sorts of birds of prey marred by pellet guns, BB guns, and other firearms, Ponder says.

But an arrow? That’s in a class by itself.

“I guess I can’t answer why [people do this]. I’ll leave that to the social workers and psychologists,” she says.

After all efforts failed to save it, the hawk was euthanized at the Raptor Center’s St. Paul clinic last week.

“While it is not the ideal ending we had hoped for, we can take solace in the fact that we prevented a seriously wounded hawk from a longer and more painful death,” a statement from the center read. It’s gotten more than a thousand reactions and hundreds of comments on the center’s Facebook page, most of them helplessly angry.

Red-tailed hawks are not especially rare in Minnesota, but what sets them apart is their proven ability to adapt to living with human beings. You can usually spot them hanging around highways, specifically because the well-mown shoulders are great hunting grounds. Drivers throw trash out their windows, which then becomes bait for small mammals, which then become sitting ducks for hungry hawks.

The center does receive hawks that have been hit by cars from time to time, Ponder says, but she’s always amazed by how few. This animal, she says, has figured out how to live with us.

Evidently, we haven’t yet figured out how to live with them.