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June 23rd 2021 started out as a typical day at Wings Rescue Center. Volunteers were busy caring for rescued birds, feeding them, cleaning their cages and treating their ills and injuries. But that all changed when a call came in to rescue a fledgling hawk near Victoria. Photographers seeking the perfect shot caused the little Red-Shouldered Hawk to fall from its nest. Having a serious eye injury, the baby bird was brought to Wing’s for treatment. After two weeks at Wings, “Champion”, as it was called then, was transferred to the Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) for long-term care and rehabilitation. Wing’s volunteers hoped that they would witness its release someday, as they had with so many other young birds in their care.

But, after four months of rehabilitation, the veterinarian concluded that Champion was blind in one eye, was unable to safely fly or capture prey for food and thus, could never be released. Unless a permanent home could be found, it would be euthanized. That is when Wings received the second rescue call. Champion, had a forever home.

On October 23rd Wings volunteers, Greg Simmons, a falconer and his wife Sally brought the bird in. Sally asked whether the Center had given it a name while in their care. Kay Adams, Wings founder and President, said its name was “Champion”. Sally responded, “I think his name should be Rocky; you know, ‘Rocky’ was a Champion”. The name stuck.


Wings 1st Education-Ambassador Bird.


Rocky’s new life started that afternoon. Wings fulltime caregiver, Dana Rhodes, began the hours upon hours of gentle one-on-one interaction to help the bird feel at ease in its new surroundings. Within a week, the time spent yielded the desired results. Rocky’s growing confidence was evident when the hawk took food from Dana’s hand. Rocky was on its way to becoming Wings first Education-Ambassador Bird.



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