Hawk caught after 2 days inside store

The early-bird specials they must be having at Raymour & Flanigan these days.

So enticed was a young hawk that it flew into the Delaware County furniture store on McDade Boulevard in Woodlyn on Friday and stayed for nearly two days before a wildlife specialist could trap it and set it free.

The Cooper's hawk, a medium-size bird about 15 inches long, was in pursuit of a smaller bird - not looking for a deal on a living-room set - when he flew in through an open door .

The young hawk then wiled away the hours under the store's 40-foot ceilings, astonishing customers.

"He just made a horrible mistake . . . as teenagers will do," said Mark Thurston, president of Wildlife Associates Limited in Exton.

It's not unusual for a hawk to stay inside a building, even when the doors are left open to allow escape.

"They equate height with safety, and they'll go up and play around in the rafters. This one certainly wasn't making any attempt to come down," he said.

Thurston spent three to four hours at the store on Saturday, trying to capture the hawk in nets. Store employees helped by trying to force the bird in the direction of the nets.

It didn't work.

"He was able to shake the nets off," Thurston said.

Thurston returned at 8 a.m. yesterday, two hours before the store opened, while it was quiet. He used a little cage with a quail - a tasty morsel to a hawk - with nooses around it.

"It took him about 20 minutes to figure out he was hungry enough and he came down," Thurston said.

The trap worked by entangling the bird's feet in the nooses. (The quail was unharmed.) Thurston was able to grab the hawk, restrain it, take it outside, and set it free.

"He flew up into a tree across the parking lot and looked back at us and then just flew away," Thurston said.

While in the store, the bird bumped into a light, knocking hot bulbs onto a piece of furniture, but other than that appeared to have caused no damage, Thurston said.

"The customers were just amused that the bird actually was stuck in there," said a store employee.

The store manager did not return a call for comment yesterday.


Contact staff writer Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693 or ssnyder@phillynews.com.