A rehabilitated Bald Eagle was returned to the wild today by the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey after 2 weeks of recovery.
AUDUBON of FLORIDA's press release said:
AUDUBON TO RELEASE 407TH BALD EAGLE SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6 (Maitland) Audubon Center for Birds of Prey will release a rehabilitated adult female Bald Eagle on Cedar Key, Saturday, November 6th at 1:00 PM. (Release site to be determined. Call Lynda White's cell for directions). This is the 407th rehabilitated Bald Eagle released back to the Florida skies by the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey since 1979. This eagle is a symbol not only of our nation but of the success of the Bald Eagle recovery efforts by Audubon through education, conservation and rehabilitation.
The eagle was found on the ground unable to fly, rescued by Cedar Key resident Dr. David Johnston, and transported to the University of Florida's Veterinary School in Gainesville. The bird was then transferred to Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, a nationally renowned center for eagle care. She was diagnosed with very minor abrasions, most likely in a territory dispute with another eagle. Conditioning in the 100 foot flight cage followed, and she is now ready for release two weeks after her rescue. She has been fitted with a numbered aluminum U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service band for future identification.
Even though the eagle is now delisted, Bald Eagles and their nest sites will continue to be protected by state and federal laws. For more information about Bald Eagles or the Eagle Watch volunteer program, please contact Lynda White, firstname.lastname@example.org
Except for having to move the release from the west end of Cedar Key's Airport because other Bald eagles were found to be nesting nearby, and three Bald Eagles were flying above the site at the time the release was to take place, the beautiful event happened without a hitch on the access road near Bridge 4 just out out of the City of Cedar Key.
During the car ride over to the release, the bird was sleeping and peaceful in Lynda White's arms - even when arriving to several curious people, including one child, and their cameras. The bird seemed to have no fear that her rescuers would bring her harm. Of course, she was blinded during the ride and walk over to the release spot in order to help her remain calm.
When the time came, Lynda handed the lovely bird over to Beth Loft, a Veterinary Technician, to perform the actual release. And, once the blinders came off, the bird appeared ready to take off. She looked bright eyed at the world and people before her, then turned her head around to see Beth's face, and as if to say, "Will you please release me now?"
Beth gave the nearly 10 pound bird a heave, and off she went over a salt marsh of the Gulf of Mexico and over to a snag across the way. She rested only a short while, and flew off to hopefully find her mate.
Esta and Dr. David Johnston; Captain Doug Maple of Tidewater Tours, an avid bird watcher; Tom Liebert of Kayak Cedar Keys, a lover of nature; Tom and Josh Pearson of Pearson Lawncare; myself; and a few others were there for the release.
Bald Eagles are in the middle of their mating season around the Cedar Keys area. Eagles have a lifespan of up to 40 years in the wild.