An Inspiring Story from an Unlikely Survivor

Today I’d like to introduce you to “Crash,” a red-tailed hawk, who had the misfortune of colliding with a car this spring in Mercer County, PA, and had to be extricated  from the front bumper. The good news is that Crash survived his ordeal, was rescued and then taken to a wildlife rehab center.

Photo courtesy Tamarack Wildlife Center

However, the accident gave the hawk a concussion and damaged his wing, rendering him unable to fly well enough for release (after completing his concussion protocol, I assume 🙂 ). Thankfully, the staff at Tamarack Wildlife Center, a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation and public education facility in the northwest corner of the state, knew just what to do.

Using the ancient art of feather-mending called “imping,” they replaced Crash’s damaged feathers with strong ones from a deceased hawk. The procedure involves inserting an imping needle, (a thin piece of wire, bamboo or some other material) into the shaft of both the damaged and the healthy feathers. The replacement feather is secured in place with adhesive, such as a fast-drying epoxy. Eventually the replaced feathers will be shed when the bird molts and regrows new feathers.

Interns (l. to r.) Madison Story and Natalie Seburia, photo courtesy Tamarack Wildlife Center

But in the meantime, Crash can inspire us all as he flies on “borrowed wings.”

Is there someone you know who has a “broken wing” and needs some of your “strong feathers” while they heal? I’m willing to bet that your gift/ability/expertise/time is the perfect match to help heal someone who is broken physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Why not ask the Lord today how He wants to use you to keep a loved one flying on borrowed wings?

Perhaps it’s something as simple as a phone call to let them know you care or a card of encouragement dropped in the mail. Maybe your “donated feathers” are a delivered meal, a gift card to make life easier, or the offer to run a specific errand. Perhaps what your friend or family member needs most for their brokenness is your prayers–shared in person, typed in a text or simply whispered to God’s ears.

Photo by Melanie Tepper, courtesy of Tamarack Wildlife Center

And if  you  are the one feeling the damage of not being able to do what you used to, will you swallow your pride and accept an offer of “borrowed feathers?” If you truly don’t have any such offers, please ask Jehovah Jireh, the LORD who provides, to send someone to answer that prayer until you can fly again (or learn to deal with just hopping around!)

Psalm 91:4 proclaims this truth about our God:
He will cover you with His feathers.
He will shelter you with His wings.
His faithful promises are your shield and protection.

Psalm 36:7 adds:
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.

I love the prayer and plan of David, the anointed king of Israel, when he was being pursued by a powerful enemy:

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy!
I look to you for protection.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.
Psalm 57:1

How will you see God’s work in your life today? As the person  who provides borrowed wings? Or as the one who gratefully accepts them until the danger passes? Either way, you are in for a blessing, my friend.
P.S. If you want to know the happy ending of Crash’s story, the hawk made a full recovery and last week was released into the wild flying high–as evidenced in the above photo of his maiden voyage on borrowed wings.  For more info about Tamarack Wildlife Rehab, see
Be sure to open in your browser to hear the beautiful music video “Psalm 91” by New Creation Church.

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