Gunshot injured eagle released - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Gunshot injured eagle released

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Thetford, Vermont - October 28, 2010

Two bird experts from the Vermont Institute of Natural Science prepared to release the young male bald eagle back into the wild at the North Thetford boat launch.  Members of the Fish and Wildlife Department and other bird lovers watched eagerly nearby. WCAX News' Adam Sullivan reports.

  The bird seen here in a photo was found on a logging road in Troy back in September.  It had been shot by a buck shot and X-rays showed it had a fractured wing and other ailments.  For weeks, the eagle was nursed back to health at VINS and went through several strength tests before Thursday's big release day.

Sara Eisenhauer of VINS said, "They are both scavengers and hunters and so he was definitely able to prove that he can do both of those things and after realizing that he was able to fly, we knew that his chance to go out into the wild was definite."

 Just after 11 o'clock Thursday morning, that fateful flight took place.  With and little hop at first, the eagle quickly gained its composure and soared into the air.  The 6-month old bird with a noticeably large wing span, darted across the Connecticut River and eventually can to perch on a tree on the New Hampshire side of the river.

Eisenhauer expressed her feelings at the sight, "I'm just really happy, I was really nervous that he may not have taken off as smoothly as we would like and my fears were not confirmed.  He took off really well.  Seeing the flaps of the wings, and his balance in the air was as if nothing had ever happened."

John Buck of Vt. Fish and Wildlife added, "it's a small step but it is a big step at the same time because eagles are endangered in this state and the numbers of eagles, although resurging with great strength, are still at low numbers."

 There are currently nine known nesting spots for bald eagles in the state which is a modern record.  And five BABY eagles fledged this year.  But-- survival rates for birds like this are only about 50 percent.

Buck said, "It's in the wild now and so wild things happen and to see the bird fly so strongly, so powerfully, so determinedly gives me great hope."

 And, as the eagle soared out across the horizon with the colored leaves of fall in the background emotion ran high for those who helped make this day possible.

Eisenhauer spoke, "I admit, I get a little teary-eyed watching birds like this fly away because you but in so much effort taking care of the bird and its really nice to see the fruits of your labor as the bird goes back into the wild."

Sullivan : "the United States Department of Fish and Wildlife is leading the investigation into who shot the bird and the department is offering a 25-hundred dollar reward for any information leading to an arrest. 


Adam Sullivan - WCAX News

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