Bald Eagle Release at Newport News Park

After almost four months of treatment and care, Bald Eagle #24-0316 was successfully returned to the wild on July 5. 

This adult eagle was found grounded in Newport News Park on March 16. On admission, the veterinary team did not find any injury to the bird's wings but did find a deep, necrotic laceration in the eagle's mouth. The eagle also had a very high level of lead in its system, which is likely the cause of its inability to fly. 

The vet team immediately started chelation therapy to remove the lead and surgically debrided the wound in the eagle's mouth. After several weeks of treatment, lead levels had fallen, and the eagle's wounds had resolved; by mid-May, the bird was moved to an outdoor flight pen to begin flight conditioning. 

The eagle initially had a left-wing droop during exercise sessions, but the wing droop resolved as the bird rebuilt its strength and stamina. On June 30, the eagle was officially cleared for release!

On July 5, the Bald Eagle was successfully released at Newport News Park with a crowd of about 165 people in attendance. After a brief introduction to the Wildlife Center by Senior Vice President Amanda Nicholson and President Meg Gammage-Tucker, the eagle’s crate was placed on a table, and the door to the crate opened. The eagle quietly peered out of the crate for a minute before launching herself toward the treeline. The bird’s flight was strong, and she flew about 300 feet to the woods and perched high in a tree. Some eagle release attendees were able to observe her for another 20 minutes as she got her bearings in the tree; she then flew a lap around the release field before settling back in the woods.

Check back here as more photos are shared with us in the coming days!