Bald Eagle Flies Free

 

In late October, a 2 year old bald eagle arrived at the Center.  She had been found at the side of the road in Warsaw, Missouri, by a Missouri Department of Conservation agent.  The original diagnosis was concussion - the eagle was probably hit by a car.  The bird spent two weeks recuperating and was ready to be released.

Here's the first-hand story from the team lucky enough to handle the release.

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Well, at last the big day had arrived!  The eagle was ready to be returned to the wild.  FOLNC members Daranya Rasa, Michael Sandy and Kevin Hogan were given the privilege and honor of bringing her back home to Warsaw, Missouri. 

We picked up the bird from LNC Rehabilitation Hospital on the morning of Saturday, November 5th and transported her in a large cardboard box.  The box allowed her movement without injuring her feathers or wings, and the darkness of the box kept the bird calm during the two-hour drive. 

The team discussed the best location in Warsaw for the release.  It was imperative that the eagle be released in a safe area away from busy roads and not too close to water.  Warsaw is where the impounded Osage River slows and forms Truman Lake.  It may sound strange that we did not let her go at the water's edge, but we knew that when she came out of the box that she would be disoriented and would need a safe place to rest and regain her bearings.  We did not want her first flights to take her over large bodies of water until she had had a chance to settle back into her familiar surroundings. 

The final choice was the protected land of the Missouri Department of Conservation's Lost Valley Fish Hatchery where large open fields and mature trees would offer her the protection that she would need.  We checked in at the MDC Hatchery Headquarters and introduced ourselves to the staff.  They were very happy to have the eagle back home and offered suggestions of suitable release areas nearby.  We decided on a large secluded prairie away from people and the road.  Before leaving the MDC headquarters, we left Lakeside Nature Center's phone number in case they needed to contact us.

When we arrived at the prairie, we set the box down gently on its side, being cautious not to speak and making sure that we were standing behind the box so as not to startle the eagle when the box was opened.  After a few quiet moments, Daranya carefully opened the folded flaps and backed away.  Slowly the bird walked out and looked around.  It seemed like minutes passed before her massive wings opened and, with strong graceful strokes, she left the ground.  Her flight was majestic and powerful.  She chose not to land in some nearby trees but flew over them and out of our sight.  It was truly breath taking!  We all realized what an amazing thing we had just seen.  To be on the safe side before leaving, we took a drive around the area, but she was nowhere in sight.  She had needed people when she was hurt, but not anymore!  Good luck beautiful bird!

(Story by: Kevin Hogan, FOLNC Volunteer      

Photo by: Michael Sandy, FLONC Volunteer)

Check out the pictures of the eagle release.

To learn more about bald eagles Click Here