AUSTIN (KXAN) - Two weeks ago, a 911 call led Austin police to Big Red on MoPac Boulevard near the Southwest Parkway. The red-tailed hawk was dazed and confused, suffering head trauma.
"It just kind of leaned over, opened its eyes and looked at us, then immediately closed them again," recalled Officer George Burbank. "So we knew something was wrong."
As Burbank comforted the bird, a lucky break.
"A guy walks up and said he was a licensed falconer. I thought he was joking at first but he was [a falconer]," said Burbank.
As the falconer took the bird to rehab, Officer Burbank thought, "Everybody knows our job is not always the most enjoyable or pleasant, so a day like that is a good day."
The hawk was mended at Wildlife Rescue, Inc.
"He was really out of it. He had a major headache sort of like you or I have a concussion," said Sallie DeLahoussaye, wildlife rehabilitator at Wildlife Rescue, Inc.
At first DeLahoussaye force fed Red chopped up rats and mice.
Then one day she remembers, "Within 10 seconds of me releasing a live dark mouse in the cage where he was, I could hear squeak, squeak, squeak. I said okay you got that down."
Wildlife Rescue, Inc. released Red into the wild on Thursday at Hornsby Bend Park.
He had to fly to survive.
Off he went, high and straight, soaring just like a --well-- just like a bird.
They figure Big Red is about a year old. Red-tailed hawks mate for life, so perhaps he is out seeking his true love right now.
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