RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV) is releasing two bald eagles this week.
WCV plans to release one eagle on Wednesday morning at Widewater State Park in Stafford County. Another eagle will be released Thursday at 3:00 p.m. at the Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry County.
Releases are free and open to the public. You can find more info about the release and what to expect here. If you’d like to attend, RSVP to WCV by sending an email to email@example.com.
The bald eagle to be released on Wednesday, an adult female, was found on the ground, unable to fly near Widewater on May 10. An animal control officer captured the eagle and transported it to the Wildlife Center in Waynesboro.
The female eagle is the 642nd patient of 2015. She received a complete physical examination, including radiographs and blood work. Veterinary staff found that the eagle had a broken talon and several superficial foot lacerations and was unable to fly.
The eagle has spent the past three months in the WCV’s outdoor pens, slowly building up strength and stamina. Center veterinary and rehabilitation staff have been exercising the eagle for several weeks. Now, staff say the eagle is able to fly well and is ready to be returned to the wild.
The eagle to be released on Thursday is a juvenile male. He was found on the ground in Windsor on June 19. Animal Control Officer Tiffany Webb captured the eagle and took it to Smithfield Animal Hospital. The eagle was later transported to WCV in Waynesboro by a volunteer.
The bird had a complete physical examination and vets determined he had initial head tremor and lacked muscle coordination. The eagle was moved to one of WCV’s outdoor flight pens and began to show rapid improvement, wildlife officials say. WCV veterinary and rehabilitation staff have been exercising the eagle for several weeks and have determined that the eagle is ready to be returned to the wild.
If you’d like to go to Thursday’s release, you’re asked to meet at the Chippokes Plantation State Park’s visitor center, located at 695 Chippokes Park Road in Surry, Virginia.
According to WCV, the bald eagle population of North America is estimated to be 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.
WCV is currently treating 11 bald eagles, including the two birds to be released later this week.