The Wildlife Center of Virginia will release a bald eagle on Wednesday, December 12 at 11 a.m. at the Land’s End Wildlife Management Area, near Port Conway in King George County.
The release is free and open to the public. Individuals who wish to attend are asked to RSVP to the Center at firstname.lastname@example.org. Participating in the release will be Ed Clark, President and co-founder of the Wildlife Center. Also expected are Doug Domenech, the Secretary of Natural Resources, and Bob Duncan, Director of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
On November 11, an animal control officer in King George County picked up a mature bald eagle – an eagle that had reportedly been fighting with another eagle. The injured eagle was taken to a local permitted rehabilitator. The eagle was admitted to the Wildlife Center on November 13 and was assigned Patient Number 12-2554 – the 2,554th patient admitted to the Center in 2012.
Upon admission, Dr. Rich Sim and the veterinary treatment team examined the Bald Eagle, thought to be a male. The eagle’s right elbow was bruised; the eagle was placed on a course of anti-inflammatories and pain medications. The bird showed steady improvement; it was moved to a small outdoor enclosure on November 16 and to a large flight pen on Thanksgiving Day. The Center’s rehabilitation staff has been exercising the eagle in the flight pen, gradually building up the bird’s stamina. The eagle is flying well; after reviewing results from blood work done on December 10, Center veterinarians have cleared #12-2554 for release.
It is estimated that the Bald Eagle population of North America numbered about half a million before European settlement. With the loss of habitat, hunting, and the effects of DDT and other pesticides, the U.S. eagle population plummeted. In 1977, for example, there were fewer than 50 Bald Eagle nests in Virginia. Today, the Bald Eagle population in Virginia is on the rebound. There are now more than 1,000 active Bald Eagle nests in the Commonwealth.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ Land’s End Wildlife Management Area, a 460-acre site, is situated on the Nanzatico Bay of the Rappahannock River. The Area lays claim to hosting the densest Bald Eagle breeding population in the lower 48 states.