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Hawk Joins Other Birds of Prey at Largo Nature Park

George McGough Nature Park is now home to three owls, a hawk, snakes and turtles.

Well known for its turtles, the George McGough Nature Park now has another bird of prey.

The red-shouldered hawk came to the park in mid-Septmber. Like many of the other birds at the center, the new hawk will be part of the center's education programs.

Someone brought the injured hawk to Dr. Joel Murphy's veterinary clinic in Palm Harbor this summer. The tip of the hawk's right wing was shattered and the veterinarian was unable to pin it, so he amputated the wing below the elbow, Audubon Bird of Prey specialist Barbara Walker said in an email.

The hawk can fly but does not gain much altitude. It "never would be able to hunt or maneuver the way a fully flighted would," Walker wrote.

The hawk has lived in Largo since around Sept. 10. Currently, the hawk is indoors. The 6-month-old female hawk will move outside by the center's other birds of prey, once its enclosure is complete, around the end of this week, said McGough's Nature Specialist, Kyle Vogel.

"It seems like a very, smart bird. Its a very astute bird and very beautiful," Vogel said.

All of the birds at McGough could not live on their own in the wild because of injuries. The center has a barred owl named Matilda, which cannot fly because of a fracture to her humerus bown. Plus, the great horned owl Franklin and a female great horned owl, which still needs a name.

If you go:

Address: 11901 146th St. N., Largo

Phone: 727-518-3048

Park Hours: Daily 8 a.m. until 5:45 p.m.

Nature Center Hours: Monday- Friday 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. and Sunday noon until 5:45 p.m.

Amenities: Nature Center, Turtle Deck, Picnic Shelters, Boardwalk, Playground, Restrooms, Birds of prey enclosures.

Cost: There is no charge to go to the park.

Donations can be made to help McGough Nature Park care for the birds of prey by sending a check to Clearwater Audubon Society, P.O. Box 97, Clearwater, FL 33757. The donation must be clearly marked for McGough birds of prey

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