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Animal Rescue Busy as New York City Becomes Wild Kingdom

A hawk down in midtown Manhattan? Another bird of prey grounded across town? A sheep loose in the Bronx?

It wasn't shear fantasy.

The odd series of animal adventures began 10 a.m. Wednesday when a former parks commissioner, Gordon Davis, reported spotting a hawk that had crash-landed near the Ziegfeld movie theater. At about 11:30 a.m. several blocks away came a report of another wounded bird, this time an American kestrel.

The birds were rescued by the Department of Parks and Recreation, which determined they were 7-week-old fledglings shaken up while testing their wings. Both were expected to recover and be returned to the wilds of Manhattan, where a growing population of birds of prey nest on high-rises and feast on squirrels, rats and pigeons, said the current parks commissioner, Adrian Benepe.

"It's the season when birds are learning to fly, which is not easy to do in midtown," Benepe said.

Finally, there was the 11 a.m. report of a sheep running around the Bronx. Police captured the female lamb and turned it over to an animal rescue organization, Animal Care & Control of New York City.

Shelter manager Liz Keller said the 7-month-old lamb caught a break: It apparently escaped from a live animal market, where it would have been sold for food. Now it's bound for a farm sanctuary upstate.

"The staff named her Lucky Lady," Keller said. "She's adorable."