By Kim Siebert MacPhail
When Wendy Rudner came to work at Bedford’s Patriot Golf Course early on the morning of July 9th, she didn’t suspect she would have a close encounter with a wild animal before the dew was off the grass.
Wendy is a retired Middle School teacher from Hanscom Air Force Base, living in Lexington, who works part-time at the golf course at the Veterans’ Administration hospital on Springs Road. One of her duties is what she called “picking the range,” which entails using a machine to retrieve golf balls.
“The driving range has a huge net all around it,” said Rudner. “On Mondays, I pick up the golf balls near the net by hand, where the machine can’t go.”
Sometime before 8 AM, Rudner was close to the netting when in her peripheral vision she caught sight of something unexpected. She turned, saw talons and realized that a red-tailed hawk—a big one—was tangled up in the net. At first Rudner thought the bird was dead, but the talons moved and she understood that it was still alive.
Knowing the job of freeing the bird was too much for her, Rudner called the Animal Control Officer and was connected to the Bedford Police. “I am a nature-woman-slash-coward,” she said.
About three minutes later, two Bedford Squad cars and two VA security vehicles arrived on the scene. The officers were equipped with heavy-duty gloves and towels. Eventually, they had to cut the net to disentangle the hawk, but they were able to free it without injury. Rudner said that the bird took a moment to orient itself, ruffled its feathers as if re-establishing its dominance, and flew away.
Rudner praised the Bedford police, saying that Officer Kristen Dineen was ultimately the one who freed the hawk. “She (Dineeen) said to call anytime for incidents like this. And she thanked me,” Rudner said.