Hawk Becomes Stranded in Lodi Walmart for Several Days

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LODI -- A cooper’s hawk that was stranded inside the Walmart on Lower Sacramento Road caused quite a commotion for several days as it perched and flew around in there three story alcove just inside the doors to the grocery section.

Tri County Wildlife Care called Lodi firefighters who used a scissor lift and fishing nets from the sporting goods department to try and capture it. Instead, it managed to chase it out through the shopping cart entrance.

Raptor care experts say the scenario isn’t that unusual. Pat Benik, the raptor leader at Tri County Wildlife Care, says the cooper’s hawk hunts pigeons and follows them with tunnel vision -- meaning they often follow them into buildings. Getting back out proves more difficult.

“They try and fly out through windows and hit the glass,” Benik said.

That’s exactly what happened to a cooper’s hawk that caught a pigeon inside a frame shop in Jackson. It injured itself and was caught and treated by Tri County then released a couple of weeks later.

If the Walmart hawk wasn’t chased out it would have suffered a worse fate.

“It was flying around hitting pipes and walls…it would have died of stress and dehydration,” said Donna Johnson, a Tri County Wildlife Care volunteer who responded to the Walmart incident.

The organization relies on volunteers to operate in Amador, Calaveras and San Joaquin Counties and receives no government funding. They are always in need of donations to house and care for rescued and orphaned animals, not just raptors.

“We’ve moved into their territory, they were here first…but we still to live here too so we need to find a balance,” said Sandy Greene, president of the Tri Valley board of directors.

You can call 209-283-3245 to get information on donations and volunteering. The organization also has a Facebook page.