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MLA Full: "Hawk Beak Trim and New Anklets." YouTube, uploaded by Animal Wonders Montana, 18 April 2019,
MLA Inline: (Animal Wonders Montana, 2019)
APA Full: Animal Wonders Montana. (2019, April 18). Hawk Beak Trim and New Anklets [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (Animal Wonders Montana, 2019)
Chicago Full: Animal Wonders Montana, "Hawk Beak Trim and New Anklets.", April 18, 2019, YouTube, 08:47,
Hara the Harris hawk gets a nail and beak trim, plus new anklets!

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 (00:00) to (02:00)

Hi everyone.  I want to give a quick thanks to CuriosityStream for supporting this episode and you can go to to learn more.

Welcome back to Animal Wonders.  It's been a while since I had Hera on the channel and since she needs some maintenance on her beak, nails, and she needs new anklets, I thought it would be fun to show you how we do all that for her.


Hera is a Harris's hawk and she's about 17 years old.  We've had her for seven years and she came to us because she has damaged wing tips.  She can't fly accurately more than about 10 feet, so she can't catch her own prey, which means she can't live in the wild and she can't be a falconry bird, so we were asked if she could come be an educational ambassador at Animal Wonders.

Hera is quite smart and she has preferences for certain people.  She took a liking to me pretty quickly and I'm very honored to be her friend, but she doesn't like strangers and she'll definitely let them know by screaming at them if they come too close to her territory.

Now, a couple years ago, Hera developed a fungal infection in her talons.  We don't know where it came from and we treated it for over six months.  Hera also has a parasite that comprised her immune system.  It's not treatable, so the best thing we can do for her is to keep her healthy and keep stress to a minimum.  

The fungal infection was very persistent, and we were concerned about the strength of her immune system not being able to fight it off or having it spread to other, more vulnerable areas, like her respiratory system.  We're thankful it stayed in her nails and with continued treatment, it finally cleared up, but it left a few of her nails malformed, which is why we need to do some maintenance today.

So the first thing we need to do is to gently restrain her, because she does not like us messing with her nails.  After six months of us applying ointment twice a day, you'd think she'd be used to it, but instead, it just made her more sensitive about it.

 (02:00) to (04:00)

So I'm going to put her in her crate and then gently place a towel over her and fold her into a little burrito.  Now that she's all situated, let me introduce Augusto.  He's here to help today and it's always best to have two people do something like this, one to make sure that she is comfortable and restrained properly and the other person to focus on the task at hand.

Now, some hawks do better with a hood that covers their eyes and we do have a hood for Hara.  She just really dislikes it and it's less stressful for her not to wear the hood, so that's what we do.  So I can get to her foot here.  I'm just going to wear these gloves because if she does decide to clamp down on me, it's incredibly painful.  They're very sharp, but you can see, this is a normal talon right there, it's pretty good looking, and then this one is kind of--it's malformed.  It's not as sharp at the end there and it's twisting, so I'm going to take my dremel and I'm just going to try and reshape that.

There she goes.  You see that?  If my finger would have been right there, I would have--it would have punctured my skin, so that's why I wear these protective gloves.  It's going to take a while to re-shape this here, just because it is so crooked and we had to let it grow out because that's where the most intense fungal infection was, so we just let it be and now we're trying to reshape it so she can use it again.

Do you wanna let go?  Alright ,you hold on to that glove.  Whoo-ey.  That was fun.  So what happened was, after I was done dremeling, she was like, I am not having a fun time right now.  This is quite uncomfortable, and so she footed and that's their defense mostly is like, I'm gonna foot and protect myself.  I was able to get my thumb out of there.  I'm just going to let her hold on to that glove like that while I refocus on her beak.

So her beak is quite overgrown and that's because she--this is stressful for her and we try and reduce the stress as much as possible so we do not restrain her often.  

 (04:00) to (06:00)

I'm just going to go ahead and start reshaping it and take some breaks.  It does get quite warm when you use a dremel and they do have a quick in their beak, just like with our fingernails and dog nails and so I have to make sure that this stays comfortable for her, so take little breaks.  Alright, that's looking pretty good.  Gonna leave it there for today and now we're going to address her anklets.

Every year, we re-do her anklets and her anklets are made of soft leather.  I'm taking out these jesses right now, and because she can't fly, if she were to like, fly off of my hand when we are outside, she could hurt herself or get out and then she wouldn't be able to take care of herself and she wouldn't survive, so that's why we have the anklets on her, but they do get dry and they can crack over the winter and so, I'm just going to take off these old ones and replace them with nice, new, soft leather here.  

We need one ankle at a time.  Let's see if we can go ahead and get this one.  There we go, don't let her getcha.  So there, actually, let's give her something else to hold on to.  Here you go, grab that.  Okay.  Grabbing on there, and then this is the loud part.  There we go.  New anklet.  We'll get that jess back in there.  

 (06:00) to (08:00)

And we'll do it on the other foot now.  Alright, so I'm wrapping the anklet around, put the grommet up through the little hole.  Here we go, and then I'm going to lay it on a little pedestal, get the (?~6:31) piece up there, alright, situated, and this goes right on top, make sure her toe's out of the way.  Give it a couple taps.  Oop, I didn't do it hard enough.  There we go, now it's set.  Put the jess back through and we are done, so now's--I'm going to lift her back up.  Come on out of there.  There you go.  All done.  All done.  

Well, that went pretty smoothly.  I know, that was super uncomfortable and it was incredibly rude of us to do that to you and you're gonna have a bad hair day for the rest of the day, but we did it.  We don't have to do that for a while again and I'm so glad you're so tolerant and you let us take such good care of you.  You're a very good girl, Hara, and thank you for joining us today and letting me share how we take care of Hara.  

Now, I love animals, but I also love learning about science and space.  I just watched this video called "Red Rovers: Space Probes" which is all about NASA's little family of robots that are exploring Mars.  I'm excited to learn more about the history of life on Mars, so I'm following the little robots' discoveries closely.  This was a great introduction to the family and you can find it on CuriosityStream, who is the sponsor of today's video.

 (08:00) to (08:47)

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Thank you so much, and we'll see you next week.