A great black hawk found injured in a Portland park during a snowstorm is showing more significant signs of frostbite, according to the group caring for the raptor.

The bird is native to Central and South America and its presence in Deering Oaks had drawn widespread attention. It was found lying in the snow Jan. 21 and taken to the nonprofit Avian Haven rehabilitation center in Freedom for treatment.

In an update posted Monday morning, Avian Haven said the skin on the feet of the great black hawk has shown “significant deterioration” in the past 48 hours, with the lower legs also showing effects of frostbite. The group previously announced that the hawk will lose at least part of a toe to frostbite.

“The condition is currently very serious, and we may not have seen the worst of it yet, but hope remains,” the Facebook post said. “We are continuing with treatments that are being modified according to ongoing developments.”

The hawk has been sleeping lying down on soft padding, but is upright during the day and continues to eat well, according to Avian Haven. Last week, the bird flew out of its cage when it was opened to replace provisions.

The great black hawk spotted in Deering Oaks was first seen in August in Biddeford. Bird watchers are not sure how it ended up in Maine, but every year birds like this one – called vagrants by ornithologists – fly outside their geographic range.

Avian Haven sent photos of the great black hawk’s tail and wings to ornithologists “who have studied dozens of photos of this bird taken in Texas in April and, much more recently, in Biddeford and Portland.”

The decision about if or where the raptor will be released will primarily rest with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: grahamgillian

filed under: