A firefighter is being hailed a hero today after rescuing an injured red-tailed hawk that "appeared sick and stuck" on an air-conditioning unit in Manhattan, according to the FDNY.
Firefighter Bobby Horvath, who also happens to be a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in the state of New York, told ABC News today that he responded to the scene after the resident of an apartment called multiple city agencies concerned about the hawk, who hadn't moved from the A/C unit for the past three days.
Horvath was caught on video this afternoon going up 40 feet in a tower ladder to the third floor to try and rescue the hurting bird of prey.
"It takes both skill and luck," Horvath told ABC News. "I knew there was no guarantee, and the bird could've gotten spooked and fell off, but luckily, it stayed long enough for me to net him."
Though the bird's wings were OK and it was "perky and alert," one of its talons had "severely infected bite wounds," Horvath said.
"Though we can't be sure what happened, usually these type of injuries are because a prey animal -- such as a squirrel or rat -- bit at bird to try and defend itself," Horvath explained.
The firefighter and wildlife rehabilitator took the hawk to his home on Long Island today, where he and his wife, Cathy Horvath, run a non-profit animal rescue practice called Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation.
The couple has saved and nurtured all kinds of native New York State animals, including rabbits, opossums and foxes, Bobby Horvath said.
"We're going to take care of the hawk and patch him up," he said. "Once he's all better and the infection is gone, we can release him back to the wild."