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creation of the life-size sculpture of the Great Black Hawk!

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Exclusive GBLH decal when you donate!

Mailed to all who support the project. 

Decal created courtesy of Montgomery Design

Avian Haven

Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

**Should funds raised exceed project costs, surplus revenue will be donated to AVIAN HAVEN for care and rehabilitation of wild birds, many of which are rescued within greater Portland.  

The Story

   During his chosen weeks in Deering Oaks (November 29, 2018-January 20, 2019) the errant Great Black Hawk (GBLH) from South America became both a local celebrity and attracted people from throughout the Country. A juvenile, the hawk was appreciated for its stunning plumage and fierce hunting capabilities, while simultaneously raising concerns about his ability to tolerate Maine’s winter climate. 

   People of all backgrounds wondered why he came, what threw him so far off course and grew concerned for his well-being. The hawk brought joy and a sense of wonder while reminding us of the importance of preserving and stewarding urban habitat which sustains such awe-inspiring wildlife.

   Initially surviving fall cold snaps and snowstorms, he succumbed to a sleet storm on January 20, was rescued from the ground, and transported to Avian Haven Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center.  Intensive efforts to rehabilitate the hawks severely frost-bitten feet came too late.  Frostbite is known for its insidious progression and likely the irreparable damage associated pain and inability to perch occurred well before the bird was found on the ground.

   The outpouring of love, prayers, good wishes and support during for our vagrant visitor’s time in rehab at Avian Haven were significant.  This beloved hawk touched the lives of many and brought people together from all walks of life, leaving a lasting impression and lingering questions that we believe should be recognized in a historical, educational way.  

*GBLH is a 4-letter alpha code based on common bird names covering 2129 species found in Canada, the US, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. Typically the first 2 letters of the birds first and second name. 

GBLH Photos courtesy of Karl Ramsdell


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Authentic representation

Award winning bronze sculptor David Smus  combines his love of nature and fine art to create masterful limited-edition bronzes in his Maine studio.  Well known for revealing the spirit of nature in bronze, David began his reproduction of the Great Black Hawk (GBLH*) with hands-on examination, precise measurements, photographs and other documentation of the actual body of the hawk prior to preservation being conducted by the Maine State Museum.


 “It’s been my specialty as a full-time sculptor for 35 years.  I have a B.S. degree in Wildlife Management from UMO, and years of experience earlier as a taxidermist. I’ve always enjoyed helping educate the public about wildlife and contributing to that cause in any way I could.  Our own well-being is closely related to that of all life and the environment

as a whole.”                                     David Smus 

Norway Savings Bank donates $5,000 to support

installation of Great Black Hawk bronze sculpture!
This generous gift brings the project to its next exciting phase; creation of the life-size clay model to be cast in bronze.

Pictured left to right:   Diane Davison, Avian Haven rescue volunteer;

Anne Pringle, President, Friends of Deering Oaks; Patricia Weigel, President & CEO, Norway Savings Bank, Karen Hakala, SVP Marketing, Norway Savings

Bank; Janice deLima, VP CRA Officer, Norway Savings Bank; Darci Hamm,

EVP Senior Retail Banking Officer

 "What exciting news to hear about Norway Savings Bank's timely contribution toward FoDO's sculpture project to commemorate the

Great Black Hawk's unusual visit to Deering Oaks in Portland!
That level of generosity supports both community and nationwide interest in this exceptional occurrence of the natural world. After sharing ideas and meaningful input from the many involved with this thoughtful proposal, we can now move forward into the actual clay modeling phase of the life sized sculpture, to be cast in bronze.
This installation should serve to remind and educate park visitors of all ages and walks of life about the importance of green spaces in developed areas for generations to come.
They help people and creatures we not only admire and appreciate as part of our daily lives, but are also an integral part of the environment we depend on as the very web of life that connects everything, ultimately (no matter how near or far) to each other's well-being

   David Smus / Sculptor

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      DownEast         Magazine 


 "When a wildly out-of-range great black hawk showed up last winter, the saga of the one-in-a-million vagrant raptor stole (and broke) many Mainers' hearts." 

                                                 Feature story 

MC Construction takes the lead in supporting

the Great Black Hawk project! 

We're pleased to share the news of this generous major donation from southern Maine’s premier

General Contracting Company! 

The life-size clay model is now in final phase of being

cast in bronze at a local foundry.

Thank you MC Construction!

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