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West End Michaels store closes early after large hawk flies in and won’t leave

Posted at 11:30 PM, Nov 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-15 08:24:43-05

HENRICO COUNTY - The Michaels store on West Broad Street in western Henrico closed early, at about 7 p.m.,  Friday after a hawk chasing a songbird flew into the store and would not leave.

"It's pretty crazy," Michael's shopper Leonor Lutson said.

"It was flying in the corner about 18-20 inches long and about a three-foot wingspan," witness David Bender added.

The store  closed to wildlife experts could attempt to safely capture the big bird.

"They tend to defecate a lot and if it potentially hears a loud noise, it could startle the bird and you don't want a hawk trapped with customers inside," Melissa Stanley, from the Richmond Wildlife Center, said. "Once we figure out the flight pattern, that's what we need to set up a trap."

Wildlife experts said the longer the Cooper’s hawk is active, the faster it will grow tired and fly lower, making it easier to capture.

Calls were made to bird experts with a bird bander’s permits. They hope to use a mist net or an A-frame trap to safely remove the hawk.

"Maybe it missed its flight south for the winter," Bender joked.

A Michaels employee said the store would reopen at 9 a.m. Saturday, but may close again as wildlife experts try again to remove the hawk from the store.