This past Thursday, East Village resident Helen Stratford, a.k.a. Helen the Accordion Lady, was walking on Houston Street near Whole Foods when she noticed a group of bystanders trying to help a bird in distress on the sidewalk.
Several people tried to assist what turned out to be a female juvenile red-tailed hawk. Whenever anyone got too close, the agitated young hawk tried to fly off, landing in the street where a car clipped her.
As EVG correspondent Steven reports, Stratford took charge of the situation, first going into Whole Foods at the Bowery and commandeering two shopping baskets to help corral the hawk. She also asked Whole Foods staffers to find a large cardboard box and punch holes in it.
Stratford and a bystander successfully got the hawk into the makeshift basket cage, where she covered it with her shawl. Stratford and a tourist from Austin, Texas, then called a Lyft and transported their passenger to the Wild Bird Fund on the Upper West Side.
In a follow-up on Twitter, the Wild Bird Fund reported that the young hawk, estimated to be about a year old, "got into a fight with another raptor," which led to the collision on the sidewalk and street.
Fortunately, the Wild Bird Fund also reported that the hawk "is stunned but not badly injured." A volunteer said that they would eventually release the hawk back into the wild.
For now, the Wild Bird Fund has given the hawk the nickname "Helen."
Updated 6 p.m.
The Wild Bird Fund released the hawk this afternoon in Central Park... Stratford can be heard in the background calling out "we love you" as the hawk flies off...
Photo by Phyllis Tseng via Twitter