A small group gathered at the Cottonwood Creek Greenbelt in Frisco Tuesday to watch the release of a rehabilitated red-shouldered hawk.
"We've got a feisty bird in here today," Erich Neupert said. Neupert is Executive Director of the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center in Lucas. "We don't get too connected with them because they're wild animals that are going back out to nature."
The hawk fell out of its nest as a baby. It spent 2 1/2 months being rehabilitated; learning to hunt for food, fly, and getting medical checkups to make sure it was ready to spread its wings.
"The cool thing is it passed mouse school, which is great! Which means it knows how to hunt for itself," Neupert explained to the gathered crowd. "Because think about it, these guys eat lots of mice. If we didn't have raptors here in our environment, we'd have mice up to our knees!"
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The hawk release was intended to draw attention to the City of Frisco's 10 designated natural areas within the city's park system.
"We recognize that as a growing area, that now is the time to conserve the natural resources," Kelsey Johnson said. Johnson is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Frisco.
"So we have to give this bird a little bit of time to go 'where am I, what just happened?,'" Neupert told the crowd before he opened the bird's carrier.
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As soon as the door opened, the bird flew out to its new home.
"Right into the woods, which is where they're supposed to be," Neupert said excitedly. "Every clap! Woohoo!"