A young Red Tail Hawk is back soaring the skies above the Southern Tier after being nursed back to health by rehabilitators.

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Cole”, as he has been named, was found near death eight months ago suffering from West Nile Virus.

The bird was released back at Nathaniel Cole Park, where he had been found, on April 22. The release coincided with the celebration of Earth Day and several people gathered to watch the raptor take to the skies.

Rescuers said the bird initially was in such grave condition they feared he was not going to survive.