A rehabilitated red-tail hawk is released back into the wild

After getting some much needed rehabilitation from The Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo, one lucky bird was released back to the wild./ Ray Harless -- FOX21 News
After getting some much needed rehabilitation from The Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo, one lucky bird was released back to the wild./ Ray Harless -- FOX21 News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — After getting some much needed rehabilitation from The Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo, one lucky bird was released back to the wild. Saturday, a red-tailed hawk was sent on its way back into nature at Cheyenne Mountain State Park.

Eagles, hawks, owls and falcons are all birds of prey, very common in North America, so you may even spot them in your backyard.

“I met a barn owl when I was in college and he hissed at me and his breath was so hideous I thought, ‘That’s it. How could you not fall in love with this animal that has this bad of breath?,'” Diana Miller, Director of the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo, said.

That’s how it all started for Miller. She’s been working with and rehabilitating these birds for 30 years.

“They come to us injured, maybe hit by a car, sometimes illnesses,” Miller said. “They get viruses and colds and sinus infections just like we do or sometimes they’re just youngsters that got maybe tossed out of a nest in a storm or something happened to mom and dad.”

The Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo sees as many as 250 injured birds every year. Half of them go back to the wild after getting the help they need. The other half unfortunately don’t survive. But that wasn’t the case for one not-so-little gal.

A young red-tailed hawk was hurt in a storm near Fort Carson a couple months back. Now she’s nursed back to health and ready go back to where she belongs.

“She held it with me, and we put the fingers in like that and she put her hands there and she let go and then the bird was ready to soar off,” said Jenny Pelton.

Pelton is an outdoor enthusiast and lover of Cheyenne Mountain State Park. She was the lucky winner drawn to let her fly.

“I didn’t want to let go. It was so pretty. I wanted it to last longer,” Pelton said. “It really was quite nice. It was very calm. I just looked at its eyes and it was just, it was beautiful.”

If you find an injured bird or any animal, Miller says to call local law enforcement. They know who the wildlife rehabilitators in the area are. Somebody will let you know what to do until they get there.

The Nature and Raptor Center is located right off of Pueblo Boulevard. It’s open Tuesday through Sunday. You’re welcome to come in and visit the resident birds. On Saturdays and Sundays, they offer a free weekend raptor talk.

For more information on The Nature and Raptor Center, check out their website, www.NatureandRaptor.org .

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