Posted 6:59 PM ET 4 November 2018
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USA TODAY Sports
AIR POWER ACADEMY, Colo. – A coral aviation injured in West Point during a prank on Saturday before the annual football game between service academies is back home and shows signs of improvement.
The 22-year-old Aurora bird "was able to fly around on the pen" on Sunday, said the representative of the Air Force Academy Lt. Col. Tracy A. Bunko.
Evolution is "an extremely good sign," Bonko said, adding that the academy is "grateful for the support boom and optimism for Aurora's recovery."
The geranium will continue to be evaluated and will take antibiotics to prevent infection, said Bunko.
The army officers at West Point have apologized for the injury of the hawk and promised a full investigation.
"We take this situation very seriously, and this incident does not reflect the values of the army or the USMA for dignity and respect," the academy said in a statement.
Sam Dollar, an adviser to the Air Force Reflection team, said on Sunday in the New York Times that two West Point captains took the birds, threw the sweaters over them and put them in dog boxes. The dollar said the juniors turned the birds on Saturday morning, with Aurora's wings bleeding – probably from death in the cage.
"I think they had them for a few hours and then they realized it was a bad mistake," the dollar said in the newspaper. "When Aurora started crawling in the crate, they decided it was not good."
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Aurora is the official and oldest mascot of the Air Force Academy. On the school's salmon page, the bird is described as a gyrfalcon white phase, which is a "species of hawk that is extremely rare in wildlife and whose beauty will take your breath away."
"Unless you are federally licensed, you can not touch them," said Dollas, adding that Air Force captains working with the birds spend two months training and checked before they can handle them.
3% of all hawks are gyrfalcons, and 1% of them are white, according to the website. The school acquired Aurora 22 years ago as a gift from the alumni association.