MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A beautiful sight on Wednesday as a rehabilitated falcon returned to the wild after a rough few weeks.
Nasim Mahomar of Pelican Harbor Seabird Station was part of the rescue team.
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“He seemed pretty scared, definitely he was still very alert,” Mahomar explained.
The team was called by someone who spotted the red-winged hawk sitting on a bush west of Miami-Dade.
Turns out there was a string tied to his foot, and it looked like someone was keeping him as a pet.
“Looks like it was two shoelaces tied together, black shoelaces, nothing very strong. But this bird was completely flightless. One of its wings was not usable,” she said.
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Hannah McDougall told CBS4 when they brought the falcon back to Pelican Harbor, that’s when they realized the bird had been shot, possibly with a pellet gun.
“That’s where the entry point for the ball would be. And that’s why the bullet is lodged here on this side of the body,” McDougall said.
“These are animals that have the instinct to be free,” Mahomar explained. “It took a while, but a lot of care and love got it to where it is now. We are so grateful to be able to release it today.
After much care and rehabilitation for 35 days, the time has finally come for him to leave. It took the hawk a few seconds to take off, but when it did, its first stop was high in the branches of a nearby tree as it soared to freedom.
“We believe he has made a full recovery and should have a wonderful life in the wild,” McDougall said.
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As this falcon flew to freedom, a man faces a misdemeanor citation for illegally capturing a wild bird. This case is still ongoing.