When a baby red-tailed hawk fell out of a nest in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park last month, it would take five days and a few humans to get it back home.

The pre-fledgling hawk fell out of its nest just outside the California Academy of Sciences. Luckily, local birder Rudyard Wallen spotted the baby struggling on the ground and contacted Bay Raptor Rescue for assistance.

The bird was then transported to San Rafael-based wildlife hospital WildCare for a health assessment, with wildlife officials hoping to return it to its nest. After undergoing x-rays, bloodwork, and a test for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, the bird was given a clean bill of health and approved to be reunited with its mother and sibling.

A pre-fledgling red-tailed hawk is returned to the tree it fell out of, outside of the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on June 24, 2023. (Nicole Racicchio/CAS via Bay City News)

Last Thursday, WildCare’s raptor team collaborated with Cal Academy’s ornithology department to successfully return the young raptor to the nest and its waiting mother and sibling.

The feathered family can still be seen from the academy’s living roof area.

Cal Academy said in a statement that red-tailed hawks nest high in trees and face a precipitous fall from the moment they are born. It is not uncommon to spot young fledgling hawks on the ground, but this raptor’s fluffy head and clumsy movements signaled it was too young to care for itself.

Golden Gate Park provides a sanctuary for hawks, they still face many of the challenges found in urban settings, including busy roads, heavy foot traffic and secondary poisoning.