SAN DIEGO - An injured hawk that was found by a rescuer during a search for a missing man has been released back into the wilderness.
Eager to be released, the red shouldered hawk was set free Sunday after a month of healing.
"That was fantastic. It was neat seeing him up and about," said San Diego County Sheriff's search and rescue volunteer Travis Hull.
Hull found the bird in June during a search and rescue effort in Ramona for a man with Alzheimers. He said the bird looked hurt.
"He was on the side of the road, kind of hobbling around with one wing straightened out so it looked like something had happened to him," Hull said. "We weren't sure exactly what."
Not knowing what to do, Hull took the bird under his wing. He unbuttoned his shirt, wrapped up the hawk and took it to The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center for Care, where the bird was treated.
"He was just really lethargic, I think, from the heat because it was a hot day and we think he may have been hit by a car," said animal care specialist Kim D'Amico.
The hawk had no broken bones and no fractures. He was a bit underweight and had some parasites and oil on his feathers. But now, a full recovery and a success story for the hawk.
"It was a highlight for a tough search for everybody," said Hull.
The missing man's body was found days later. 10News checked with the Medical Examiner's Office on Sunday and they say they are still investigating how he died.