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Rocky the bald eagle
Rocky will be released on Saturday after staff at Cape Fear Raptor Center concluded he is okay to go back into the wild. (Photo: Basil John/WWAY)

ROCKY POINT, NC (WWAY) — It’s almost time for Rocky, the bald eagle, to fly high. Rocky came to the Cape Fear Raptor Center in January with severe injuries, like broken bones, after being shot.

“He was found on the ground. Broken radius and ulna. Fractured as a result of a gun shot wound from a shotgun,” Scott Shimp, rehabilitation director, said.

He was in surgery for about six hours and went through rehabilitation for months, starting from three days a week and working up to five.

‘Once they progress through that and they’ve got full range of motion back in their wing again, then we’ll begin to take them out and do physical therapy, flying with them on a tethered line,” Scott said.

The staff watched Rocky vigorously, in hopes that his rehabilitation would pay off, and thankfully it did.

“When we flew him for the first time, we need to make sure that they get lift up in the air. Lots of birds can fly forward, but they can’t necessarily get lift and he got lift right away so then we knew he’s going to be able to be released, it’s just a matter of time,” Joni Shimp, the medical director, said.

Now, Rocky will get to take off back into the wild, into his natural habitat.

“Although he may not actually be able to think that it’s our facility and our organization that’s saved them, the minute he sees the wild open air, he is ready to fly and that’s enough said for me,” Joni said.

Rocky will be the fifth eagle released since May. But according to the staff, he sustained the worst injuries they saw this year among eagles. He will be released on Saturday at 8 a.m. at 131 Via Dolorosa Road, Rocky Point. The public is invited to attend.

If you want to learn more about the center, click here.

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