Soarin’ Hawk to Release Eagle After Two Years of Rehabilitation
A young bald eagle that was found two years ago in emaciated condition has been rehabilitated by the northeast Indiana non-profit group Soarin’ Hawk and will be released back into the wild on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. at SalamonieReservoir.
The public is invited to witness the release by Soarin’ Hawk volunteers at Salamonie Beach, 9214 Lost Bridge Road West, Andrews.
The eagle will be released at Salamonie Reservoir because several pairs of eagles are in residence there. After two years of recovery, the goal is for the young raptor to connect with other eagles.
In 2016, the then-six-month-old eagle was found at Madison County High School by Indiana Conservation Officer Cpl. Josh Kilgore and Soarin’ Hawk volunteer Lynnanne Dennison-Fager. The eagle had a broken leg, and mites had chewed the eagle’s feathers so severely it could not fly. Unable to hunt, it was weak and emaciated.
The injured raptor was brought to Soarin’ Hawk’s facilities in the Fort Wayne area to receive medical care. Fortunately, the broken leg had begun to heal, so surgery was not needed. The eagle was restored to health, but eagles do not molt and replace feathers every year, so the raptor had a long stay.
Finally, in the spring of 2018, the feathers were good and the eagle was capable of flying. However, before a raptor can be released back into the wild, Soarin’ Hawk must make sure the bird has sufficient strength to fly and survive. To do this, Soarin’ Hawk volunteers use “creance” flying (controlled flying using a tether). There was concern that the eagle wasn’t gaining enough strength, so three months ago it was sent to the Illinois Raptor Center in Decatur, Ill., where it could fly inside a 100-foot-long flight house that is not yet available locally.
(Soarin’ Hawk is currently raising funds for a new center that will include a flight house.)
Soarin’ Hawk volunteers are driving to Illinois and bringing the eagle back to the area on Thursday, in advance of the release on Sunday.