Wildlife Center to release Bald Eagle on Thursday

wildlife-center2The Wildlife Center of Virginia, a leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, will release a young Bald Eagle on Thursday, August 28 at 11:00 a.m. at Claytor Lake State Park.

The release is free and open to the public.  Please meet at the Park Visitors Center/Howe House [6620 Ben H. Bolen Drive, Dublin VA 24084].  Individuals who wish to attend the eagle release are asked to RSVP to the Center at lkegley@wildlifecenter.org.

Participating in the release will be Ed Clark, President and Co-Founder of the Wildlife Center, as well as other individuals who helped rescue and treat this Bald Eagle.

This juvenile Bald Eagle was found on August 15 – dull, unresponsive, and holding its feet in a clutched position – on the ground at a landfill in Dublin.  The eagle was rescued by alert landfill workers.  The eagle was first treated at the Companion Animal Hospital in Blacksburg by Dr. Matt McCormick and then taken to the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center in Roanoke.  The eagle was then driven up to the Center’s clinic in Waynesboro.

At the Center, the patient was assigned Patient #14-1905 – the 1,905th patient admitted to the Center during 2014.  Center vets ran a variety of diagnostic tests on the bird and provided fluids and supportive care.  The eagle responded well; on August 17, the eagle was moved to one of the Center’s outdoor flight pens.  A more complete case history of the eagle is on the Center’s website, at http://wildlifecenter.org/critter-corner/patient-updates/bald-eagle-14-1905-release-scheduled

Center veterinary and rehabilitation staff have been exercising the eagle; they have determined that the bird is ready to be returned to the wild.

It is estimated that the Bald Eagle population of North America numbered about half a million before European settlement.  With the loss of habitat, hunting, and the effects of DDT and other pesticides, the U.S. eagle population plummeted.  In 1977, for example, 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 1,000 active Bald Eagle nests in the Commonwealth.

Since its founding in 1982, the Wildlife Center has treated scores of Bald Eagles, done extensive studies of environmental factors that affect eagles and other wildlife, and worked to reform laws and regulations to strengthen the protection afforded to Bald Eagles.  Thus far in 2014, the Center has admitted 24 Bald Eagles; in addition to the bird to be released on Thursday, the Center is currently treating seven Bald Eagle patients.

Every year, about 2,600 animals – ranging from Bald Eagles to Black Bear cubs to hummingbirds and chipmunks – are brought to the Wildlife Center for care.  The goal of the Center is “to treat to release” – to restore patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine.  Since its founding in 1982, the nonprofit Center has cared for more than 65,000 wild animals, representing 200 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.  The Center’s public education programs share insights gained through the care of injured and orphaned wildlife, in hopes of reducing human damage to wildlife.

In July 2011, the Center launched Critter Cam, which allows wildlife enthusiasts around the world to watch a variety of Center patients, including the eagle to be released on Thursday.  Patients that are currently “featured” on one of the three Critter Cam feeds are Eastern Screech-Owls, Great Horned Owls, Bald Eagles, and two Wildlife Center permanent residents – Buddy, a Bald Eagle, and Buttercup, a Black Vulture.  A link to Critter Cam can be found at www.wildlifecenter.org.

The Claytor Lake State Park is a 472-acre facility, with three miles of lake frontage.  Claytor Lake is administered by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.  Additional information about the Park is available at: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/claytor-lake.shtml#general_information


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