A great black hawk, a native of Central and South America, flies at Deering Oaks Park, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Portland, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

The group Friends of Deering Oaks announced it’s launching a campaign to raise funds for a bronze statue of the great black hawk who came to the Portland park from thousands of miles away.

The hawk, native to Central and South America, captivated birdwatchers and grabbed headlines with an extended stay in southern Maine. The species had only been seen once before in the United States, and never anywhere close to this far north.

After surviving a fall an early winter that were at times cold and stormy, freezing temperatures, snow and sleet that pounded the area Jan. 20 seriously injured the bird.

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Rescuers with the Freedom-based organization Avian Haven tried to save the hawk, but the bird’s condition declined and after nearly two weeks of treatment, was euthanized.

Sculptor David Smus has been commissioned to create a life-sized bronze statue of the hawk to be set on a pedestal in a spot in Deering Oaks Park the bird frequented during its stay.

“Because of the broad-based interest the hawk attracted from throughout our state and across the country, the statue will serve as an educational and historical reference to the bird’s presence in our community,” the Friends group said in an announcement Wednesday.

The organization expects the project to cost $30,000 and is accepting donations through its website.

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Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.