A red-tailed hawk afflicted with lead poisoning was rescued from Downtown Brooklyn on Tuesday by a novice wildlife rehabilitator saving his very first hawk.

"The main thing is you don’t want his talons to latch into your arm," David Karopkin explained.

Karopkin is a trained attorney—and also a NY State Department of Environmental Conversation-licensed wildlife rehabilitator. He said, "When you find injured animals... some guy in Flatbush"—referring to himself—"is getting the calls about them."

He received a text from a man who works at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District building at Tillary and Adams Streets about a red-tailed hawk that had been standing at a loading dock for a while. The concerned federal employee said he saw on the surveillance video that the hawk flew into the brick side of the building.

When Karopkin arrived 45 minutes later, the hawk was still there. Given this was his first raptor rescue—"I've rescued ducks and geese"—Karopkin said he had to mentally prepare himself. He had blankets and gloves (though ultimately got a better pair of gloves from someone at the loading dock). "I put the crate down near him... and I tried to wrap the blanket around him," he recalled. "There was some initial lack of success, but I did end up scooping him up into the crate."

Karopkin took the hawk to the Wild Bird Fund on the Upper West Side. According to Karopkin, who got an update about the hawk's condition, the hawk has torticollis (a muscle problem that causes the neck to bend down) caused by lead poisoning. "He also has right leg paresis, which could be also from the lead," he told Gothamist on Wednesday morning. "He was given pain medication and tube fed. The lead is not a high level and the good news is he doesn’t have any breaks."

The bird, who was named Blair after Linda Blair's character in The Exorcist ("because he can turn his head all the way around"), also seemed "rather emaciated, so his crash might have been caused by his poor physical condition," he continued. It's believed that Blair will be all right, but he may be taken off-site for X-rays.

As for his side gig as a wildlife rehabilitator, Karopkin said he took the written test after applying online at the DEC's website. He's been active in animal rights' issues for many years, founding Goose Watch NYC, which raised concerns about geese culling after the "Miracle on the Hudson," and working with the lobbying group Voters for Animal Rights as a board member and their wildlife expert. "I'm focused on urban wildlife—living in a city and treating everything with respect, whether it's deer on Staten Island or even rats."

He also marveled at how few people in the city seem to know what to do with injured animals. He believes people are contacting him after Googling for rehabbers, as he is listed online as a rehabilitator in Kings County.

"One night I had a goose in my bathroom," he said. "I’m just a guy from Flatbush, and I’m getting these phone calls."