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Virginia North LE - Wildlife Center releases golden eagle

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 7th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A 4-year-old golden eagle has been released after a three-month rehabilitation period at the Virginia Wildlife Center.

ARLINGTONG, VA (Catholic Online) - The bird was brought to the center on February 23 with a fractured radius bone, missing secondary feathers, and a patch of skin on the left wing, which is the result of a Department of Game and Inland Fisheries trapping accident. The bird was taken in, anesthetized, and underwent surgery the very next day. The wound was sutured and cleaned every other day for a couple months.

"If you can chuck them off a cliff or a really steep slope, then they'll go toward the horizon and they'll go. That's what we'll go for today," veterinarian Dr. Dave McRuer told the group, however was not sure if this would happen for sure. "Once we give him a toss, we don't know exactly what this bird will do."

The bird expanded its 7-foot wing span, and after a few minutes, McRuer held the bird above his head and tossed him in the air. The bird, to everyone's relief, took off and sped out of view.

Then, after a few moments, something happened that no one expected. The eagle circled back and flew around the spectators for a couple minutes, until a red-tailed hawk drove him off

"That doesn't happen often," McRuer said of the bird circling back. "That bird, if it wants to, it could be in Pennsylvania by this evening."

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