June 4, 2023

NCC man has close encounter with hawk


The sun was rising and the grass was kissed with dew; much like any other August morning.

But on this day, Joe Homay was destined to save a winged-life.

Joe Homay shows off his latest animal rescue, a Cooper's hawk found near Hartzell Hall.
Joe Homay shows off his latest animal rescue, a Cooper’s hawk found near Hartzell Hall.

Homay, NCC Physical Plant electrician of 23 years, was called to investigate a downed hawk near Hartzell Hall.

While this may not seem like an electrician’s duty, Homay takes pride in animal rescues. He has saved squirrels, groundhogs and owls all around campus.

“I love all animals,” says Homay.

Approaching the hawk, Homay expected the worst.

“It was lying on its back. I thought it had run into the glass doors,” he said. “I slowly picked him up and he seemed OK.”

After checking the hawk’s neck, wings, feet and body Homay knew the bird didn’t fly into the doors.

“I moved him from side to side, watching his eyes follow me. I knew this was a good sign,” he said.

Keeping the hawk on its stomach to breath correctly, Homay called wildlife control.

“They said they could pick it up in about two hours, so I kept him in a cool and dark box to rest,” he said.

After two hours had passed, Homay knew he had to do something.

“I took it to Wright Veterinary Clinic in Bethlehem, where they took him in and cared for him.”

After a few days passed, Homay called the clinic to check on its status. The hawk had been transferred to Pocono Wildlife and Rehab Center, where they determined the bird had West Nile virus.

West Nile virus causes paralysis, preventing the animal from eating or drinking and causing a slow, painful death. No worry for Joe though, as he was wearing gloves and is always careful when handling wild animals.

Luckily for the hawk, Homay was able to get it medical attention soon enough that the virus hadn’t spread. Once it fully recovers it will be released back in to the wild.

“I’m happy I was able to help this Cooper’s hawk. It will majestically fly once again,” he said.


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