TOMS RIVER — An unexpected visitor has kept staff and patrons on their toes, as a red-tailed hawk has been inside the township branch of the Ocean County library since Monday evening.

Once the bird was spotted in the atrium of the building, according to librarian and public information officer Sherri Taliercio, the branch was closed early at 7:45 p.m.

First responders — including the Toms River Fire Department, Toms River police and local animal control — tried but failed to capture the hawk.

The Ocean County Sheriff also sent a trained falconer to assess the situation.

It was confirmed as a male “first-year”’ hawk, standing up to 22 inches tall with a wingspan of roughly 4 1/2 feet.

He was said to be in “good shape” including healthy wings and was in no immediate danger, according to the control officer.

Toms_River_OC_library (Ocean County)
(Ocean County)

The bird was still inside on Tuesday and by afternoon, had been active in the second-floor ceiling, flying and hopping around and still evading capture, Taliercio said.

Library staff removed several ceiling tiles outside the Library Administration Area and installed a bird net, as instructed by the control officer.

That immediate area has been sectioned off so that the rest of the library can remain open.

The plan has been for the hawk to see the light and fly into the net, so he can be safely removed.

Through the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, the library has arranged for a licensed hawk rehabilitator to retrieve the bird, once it is caught — to ensure the safety of the animal and the public, Taliercio added.

Red-tailed hawks are known to live around the state and are frequently seen year-round — though outdoors.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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