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Golden Eagle Soars Again

A golden eagle is flying free again after being injured. This video shows its first flight—on February 16, 2011—after a month of rehabilitation.

The eagle sustained an injury to one of its toes when it became caught in a coyote trap in Craig County. The trapper quickly contacted Conservation Police Officers who recovered the bird and transferred it to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who then transported it to the Wildlife Center of Virginia, where a wildlife veterinarian removed the injured toe.

Golden eagles migrate through the mountains of western Virginia and some winter here, but they are rarely seen. A biologist at the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and researchers with West Virginia University and Virginia Tech are studying the migration patterns of the raptors. This eagle was banded and fitted with a GPS transmitter that will track its movements for up to two years. The bird, a male eagle, is expected to head to Canada for the breeding season within the next few weeks.

VDGIF biologist Jeff Cooper says the bird's missing toe will not hinder its ability to hunt and to provide for itself in the wild. Golden eagles are agile fliers, more so than bald eagles, and will prey upon animals ranging in size from rodents to small deer.

Learn More About Golden Eagle Research and Conservation Efforts »