Eagle Release at Berkeley Plantation

July 27, 2011

A crowd of more than 1,000 eagle enthusiasts attended the release of five juvenile bald eagles at Berkeley Plantation, July 27, 2011. This release of rehabilitated eagles is the largest ever in the history of the Wildlife Center of Virginia (WCV). Three of the eagles were siblings rescued from the nest at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens (NBG) and are known worldwide from the Eagle Cam website.

All flew well, but one of the NBG eagles, the fourth one released, landed a short distance away, making it over the trees into a nearby field. Wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) at the eagle release monitored the flights of all the birds. DGIF wildlife staff and wildlife veterinarians with WCV were prepared for this type of situation. The juvenile female was caught by Dr. David McRuer, wildlife veterinarian with WCV, and returned to a crate to rest.

It was determined that the bird would be returned to the Wildlife Center to build her strength in their 100-foot flight cage. Said McRuer, "She flew well, her wings look good, and her flight looked good, but she just got tired. This bird was the one we outfitted with a transmitter today so she was handled more than the other birds. We'll take her back to the Wildlife Center and let her practice her flying more in the flight cage."

Plans are to release her in the next couple of weeks. All of the other eagles released to the wild flew out of sight along the scenic stretch of the James River.