By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A beautiful sight Wednesday as a rehabbed hawk soared back into the wild after a rough few weeks.

Nasim Mahomar from Pelican Harbor Seabird Station was on the rescue team.

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“It seemed pretty scared, definitely, it was still very alert,” explained Mahomar.

The team was called by someone who spotted the red-shouldered hawk sitting on a bush in west Miami-Dade.

Turns out there was a string tied to its foot, and it appeared someone was possibly keeping it as a pet.

“It seems like it was two shoelaces tied together, black shoe laces, nothing very hardy.  But this bird was completely unable to fly.  One of its wings was not usable,” she said.

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Hannah McDougall told CBS4 when they got the hawk back to Pelican Harbor, that’s when they realized the bird had been shot, possibly with a pellet gun.

“This is where the entry point of the bullet 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 some time, but a lot of care and love allowed it to be where it is now.  We’re very grateful we’re going to be able to release it today.”

After lots of care and rehab over 35 days, the time finally came for it to leave. It took a few seconds for the hawk to fly away, but when it did, it’s first stop was high up in the branches of a nearby tree as it flew off to freedom.

“We do believe that he’s made a complete recovery and should have a wonderful life back in the wild,” McDougall said.

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As that hawk soared to freedom, one man is facing a misdemeanor citation for Illegally capturing a wild bird. That case is still ongoing.

Ted Scouten