HOUSTON -

Officials say they're seeing a disturbing trend of shooters targeting and shooting protected wild hawks.

The Wildlife Center of Texas said it's caring for five Red Tailed Hawks that were shot. One of them was shot in the leg, and the bullet went through the wing.

All of the birds are suffering from gunshot wounds and can expect to spend 4 to 6-months recuperating. Texas Wildlife Executive Director Sharon Schmalz said it's disheartening to see the increase in hawk shootings.

"It's really sad, because once their wing is fractured, a lot of times they can't be fixed well enough to get them back into the wild," said Schmalz.

If they can't heal well enough to go back into the wild, officials said they're placed in zoos or sanctuaries to live out their lives. But Schmalz said they help all of us when they're in the wild.

"These guys are here for a reason," Schmalz said. "They're migrating down in the area. They eat poisonous snakes, they eat rats, they eat mice, they eat things that we don't want around."

Officials said it's against the law to harm Texas native wildlife. If you see an injured hawk, you're asked to call the SPCA or the Texas Wildlife Center.