CHARLES CITY COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A bald eagle was released into the wild on Tuesday by The Wildlife Center of Virginia after it had fallen 90 feet from its nest and required medical attention.
While the bird did not suffer serious injuries, it still required captivity for medical evaluation and was not practical for renesting, according to Edward Clark, the President and Co-Founder of The Wildlife Center of Virginia.
“The eagle is from Virginia Beach but we brought him to Charles City County because it is a more hospital place for a young eagle,” Clark said. “The James River is very wide and shallow. It is full of fish.”
The wildlife center kept the eagle in a habitat with a platform and an artificial nest. The bird was housed with other eagles to raise them “knowing they are eagles” to keep them understanding what their species identification is while they recover.
Approximately 100 people gathered to see the eagle’s release in Charles City County.
The bird had a brown head and not the white head many are familiar with seeing.
“This is a bald eagle. He doesn’t have the characteristic white head and tail. Those are mature colors,” Clark said. “They will not get that white head and tail until he is four-and-a-half years old.”
After answering questions from the crowd and allowing people to see the eagle up close with supervision, the bird was freed back into captivity.
“He flew beautifully,” Clark said. “We have every expectation that this bird is going to take his place in nature and thrive.”
He said stories like this are important due to how the bald eagle was nearly extinct decades ago.
“The conservation of the bald eagle is one of the greatest success stories we have in wildlife conservation. They were a species on the brink of extinction and were brought back,” Clark added. “We made the decision to invest the resources to do so. It was removed from the endangered list during the Clinton Administration, then soon removed from the threatened list. Now we have more eagles than we can count in Virginia.”