The second day of December marked the passing of one of our most famous animals here at Wildlife Images. Gift the Red-tailed Hawk passed away quietly in her sleep at the ripe old age of approximately 35.
Her movie credits include the 1985 classic “Ladyhawke” with Matthew Broderick and Michelle Pfeifer, as well as appearances in “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman”, among many others. Our volunteer videographer, John Stoeckl, created the video featured below to help us celebrate her life.
Gift arrived at Wildlife Images three years ago from Birds and Animals Unlimited. Gary Gero of Birds and Animals Unlimited was one of her original handlers. “This is an end of era for me. She was with me nearly from the get go. Lots of great times with her. Ladyhawke is her claim to fame. Thank you Dave for taking care of her for her last years. We knew she would get the best care and attention with you.”
Gift lived out her golden retirement years here at Wildlife Images living in the lap of luxury and stealing the hearts of many a staff member, especially one of her handlers, Mark Martin. He gave her fresh mice and rats every morning and made sure she had just that little bit of extra love. He is pictured here at the small funeral service held for her. It’s easy to grow attached to the animals who call Wildlife Images home and their passing never grows easier.
“The entire staff grew to love Gift and we feel honored to have been able to spend her final days with her, ” said Executive Director Dave Siddon. “She had a great life here and seamed to truly enjoy her time with us. Thank you Gary and everyone at Birds and Animals Unlimited for letting her retire with us.”
While we mourn the passing of this illustrious bird, we reflect on her incredible life and how many lives she touched – from Wildlife Images staff members, volunteers and tourists to Hollywood stars like Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Broderick, and Rutger Hauer.
Longtime Wildlife Images volunteer Diane Orto summed it up well, “Gift, whenever we hear a red-tail call, or see them soaring in the sky you will be remembered because your spirit is within them, thanking all who loved you. ”
RIP sweet Gift. You were truly a Gift to us all.