Wildlife Center Releases Bald Eagle at Westover Plantation on September 23

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, the nation’s leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, released a Bald Eagle on Thursday, September 23, 2010, at 1:00 p.m. at Westover Plantation, on the James River in Charles City County.  Releasing the eagle was Ed Clark, President and Co-Founder of the Wildlife Center. 

Upon admission, the eagle was assigned Patient #09-2531 [out of a total of 2,534 patients admitted during the year] and was the record-setting 40th eagle brought to the Center for treatment during 2009. Upon admission, the eagle received a complete examination.  The Center veterinary team found two fractures in the eagle’s right wing.  The wing was wrapped, and the eagle received antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and pain medication.  Center veterinarians operated on the eagle on January 4 to pin the fractures and again on January 5 to get better placement of the pins.  The following week the eagle was moved to one of the Center’s outdoor pens and began the long process of recovery and rehabilitation.  The bird was recently moved to one of the Center’s 100-foot flight pens.  The Center’s rehabilitation staff exercised the bird to build up its stamina, and the eagle demonstrated that it was ready for return to the wild. This adult Bald Eagle was spotted in late December 2009, stuck in a bush on Wescotts Beach, near the mouth of the Nassawadox Creek, near Eastville on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.  The bird was rescued by Kathy Cummings on December 27 and transported to the Center by Gay Frazee on December 29. 


Additional Information ...

The eagle was banded and released at Westover, on the north shore of the James River from a National Wildlife Refuge.  The 4,200-acre refuge was created in 1991 and hosts one of the largest eagle roosts on the East Coast.   The Center’s staff decided that it was unnecessary to take the eagle back to the Eastern Shore [which would mean a longer, more stressful trip for the bird].  When the eagle was rescued in December it most likely was not in its nesting territory and may in fact have been a migrant from New England or Canada on its way south.    

Rehabilitated Eagle Released Back to the Wild, WTVR-TV Wildlife Center Releases Rescued Eagle After Recovery, Delmarvanow.com Videos of Eagle Release

Additional information and photographs of the September 23 eagle release 

About Bald Eagles ...

It is estimated that the Bald Eagle population of North America numbered about half a million before European settlement.  With the loss of habitat, shooting, and the effects of DDT and other pesticides, the U.S. eagle population plummeted.  In 1977, there were fewer than 50 Bald Eagle nests in Virginia.  Today, the Bald Eagle population in Virginia is on the rebound.  There are now more than 600 active Bald Eagle nests in the Commonwealth. 

About the Center ...

Every year, about 2,500 animals – ranging from Bald Eagles to opossums to turtles – are brought to the Wildlife Center for care.  “The goal of the Center is to restore our patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild,” Clark said.  “At the Wildlife Center, we treat to release.”   Since its founding in 1982, the nonprofit Center has cared for more than 55,000 wild animals, representing 200 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.  The Center’s public education programs share insights gained through the care of injured and orphaned wild animals, in hopes of reducing human damage to wildlife.  The Center trains veterinary and conservation professionals from all over the world and is actively involved in comprehensive wildlife health studies and the surveillance of emerging diseases.