Wildlife Center of Virginia to release two bald eagles

wildlife-center2The Wildlife Center of Virginia, a leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, will release two young Bald Eagles on Friday, September 12 at 12:30 p.m. at Kiptopeke State Park.

The release is free and open to the public.  Please meet at the picnic area of the Park [address is 3540 Kiptopeke Drive; Cape Charles, VA 23310].  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.

The two young Bald Eagles to be released on Friday were both rescued from Northampton County – within about 10 miles of Friday’s release site.  Eagle #14-1767 was admitted to the Center in late July [and was the 1,767th patient admitted in 2014]; Eagle #14-1903 was admitted in mid-August.

Complete case histories of the two eagles are on the Center’s website, at http://wildlifecenter.org/critter-corner/patient-updates/bald-eagle-release-scheduled.

Center veterinary and rehabilitation staff have been exercising these two eagles for several weeks; they have determined that the eagles are able to fly well and are 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.

Last month the Center released another pair of young Bald Eagles that were outfitted with GPS transmitters; these eagles’ travels may by tracked through the Center’s website.  Since their release in Chincoteague on August 20, both eagles have traveled north and are currently in Delaware, about 100 miles from the release site.  Tracking updates are available at:  http://wildlifecenter.org/critter-corner/success-story/tracking-chincoteague-bald-eaglets.

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 two eagles to be released on Friday.  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.

Kiptopeke State Park includes approximately 500 acres of coastal forest near the Chesapeake Bay.  With a variety of tall pines, smaller hardwoods, and shrubby understory, the Park is part of the Atlantic Flyway for migratory birds and prime year-round habitat for raptors.  Kiptopeke 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/kiptopeke.shtml#general_information


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