Wildlife Specialists from Lake Erie Nature & Science Center released a Bald Eagle back into the wild on Thursday.
The large bird of prey has benefited from the Center's services, the Medina Raptor Center and Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
When admitted on September 1, the bird was found weak, unable to stand, dehydrated and underweight. As with most wildlife patients, the cause of the patient's injury or illness is unknown. Initial treatment consisted of fluid, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic therapy. Once stabilized and rehydrated, the animal was transferred to MRC for additional conditioning in large flight cages. All caregivers agreed the animal was ready for release and pleased at its quick response to treatment.
The Bald Eagle is a hatch year bird so it is under a year old. It does not yet have the identifiable snowy white feathers on its head and neck as Bald Eagles do not fully develop their adult plunge until five years of age. Thanks to the restoration efforts by protection agencies such as U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services and ODNR and efforts of organizations like the Center, MRC and ODNR, the bald eagle is no longer considered an endangered species.
The animal was released across from the Center in Huntington Reservation at 12:30 p.m.
The site was chosen as it was close to where the animal was rescued and being near Lake Erie provides Bald Eagles with a great habitat. Eagles scavenge many meals. Fish is a main staple of their diet but they will also hunt mammals and waterfowl. Young eagles tend to roam until adulthood when they establish a territory and raise young.
Release back to their natural environment is the goal for all of the 1,000 patients admitted to the Wildlife Rehabilitation program each year. This service is provided to the public free of charge thanks to the generosity and support of donors.
Anyone who encounters wildlife that may be in need of assistance is encouraged to call the staff at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at (440)471-8357 before intervening.