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Santa Rosa falconer finds missing hawk

A falconer who lost one of the two Harris's Hawks he cares for in his Santa Rosa home said the hawk was has been located, ending a frantic daylong search. Ron Diebold was afraid the long, strappy gear she was wearing when she flew off could get her tangled in a tree and spell her end.

The 2-year-old raptor, last seen on Franklin Avenue near the Bridge School across from the Rural Cemetery, got free when owner Ron Diebold was trying to put the birds to bed behind his house Tuesday night and he struck his head on a 2-by-4 board that "just about knocked me senseless."

The bird, which came from Arizona, roosted in a neighbor's tall tree about four houses away that night while Diebold camped in the neighbor's yard. Friday morning, he used every trick in the book to try to lure her down, but a noisy delivery truck nearby scared her away, he said. She moved from tree to tree, finally landing in hundred-foot pine he decided to climb, unsure if she was tangled or not.

By the time he reached the top, she was gone, still wearing the bracelets, strapping and three-foot leash.

"It's the leash that causes all the problems," said Diebold, a licensed falconer. "If the bird didn't have the leash on, the bird could probably successfully hunt."

The risk of getting tangled and either starving or falling prey to an owl means "time is critical," he said.

Diebold found the hawk after its plight was posted on The Press Democrat's website Saturday.


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