A band of Bronx bird lovers joined forces over the weekend to save a baby red-tailed hawk — rescuing the frightened fledging from traffic then canoeing up the Harlem River in search of a noted naturalist to treat the ailing raptor.
The hawk marooned in the middle of busy Melrose Avenue on Saturday was "young, hungry and weak," said Daniel Chervoni, a member of the Friends of Brook Park environmental group.
The bird took a tumble from its nest atop an air conditioner on 149th Street and Melrose Avenue.
Fortunately, local bird watcher Lee Rivera grabbed the hawk from the dangerous intersection and rushed it to nearby Brook Park in Mott Haven.
"We were trying to feed him chicken and sliced turkey but he wouldn’t touch it," said Chervoni.
They rushed the bird to licensed falconer Ludger Balan, who was coincidentally giving a talk they’d planned to attend about 50 blocks north on the Harlem River.
The urban nature buffs stuck the bird in a cage made out of milk cartons and delivered spirited it to Balan in a canoe.
"It would’ve died if it wasn’t put in the right place," said Harry Bubbins, the Brook Park administrator.
Balan, who had another hawk with him, had raw chicken and mouse meat in his pocket, which the bird happily devoured.
"It sang when it saw the other red tail hawk. It had been quite the whole time before," said Bubbins.
Balan will care for the bird until it is ready to be on its own.