Bald Eagle Releases Galore!
In the month of January Raptor Education Group Inc. (REGI) released twelve Bald Eagles! Release is always an exciting time for us, as well as the public who come to see our former patients take to the sky to embrace their freedom.
The first group of Bald Eagles was released during Sauk City Bald Eagle Days on January 17, 2015. Two thousand people were in attendance along the banks of the Wisconsin River in Prairie du Sac to celebrate the eagles’ recovery from rehabilitation and their opportunity for a second chance at life in the wild.
Two weeks later at the same site six more Bald Eagles were released at a less publicized event with about 500 individuals of all ages cheering on the eagles as they flew off, free and wild again.
People are often curious why we release the eagles in the Prairie du Sac/Sauk City area in the winter. The answer is multi-faceted:
1. The area is a well-known and monitored Bald Eagle wintering area.
2. When eagles are wintering, there is little to no territorial interaction that occurs during other times of the year. Territorial aggression can be deadly, and it is certainly something we avoid. Wintering eagles also “help” young birds, even those that are not their biologic youngsters, if the need arises. That functions as a “safety net” of sorts for the young eagles released in the area.
3. Food availability is excellent for the eagles of all ages, due in part to the open river and the Alliant Energy Hydroelectric Dam located near the site. Even for young eagles that are not as perfect at fishing, the dam tends to stun many fish, making them easily accessible even to inexperienced younger eagles.
4. Ferry Bluff Eagle Council, an eagle conservation and monitoring group, has done a terrific job protecting habitat and educating the public to provide safe and undisturbed areas for the wintering eagles to rest and relax as they recharge themselves and prepare for the nesting season to come.
At this time we have several more Bald Eagles in the 110’x40’x28’ conditioning flight, exercising those vital flight muscles. They too will soon be able to join the wild population once again.
Many of our winter releases are publicly announced, but that is not always possible, nor is it the right choice for some of our patients. If a bird is ready and the time, weather, and situation are perfect, getting our patient back into the wild is, and must be, our first priority.
Please enjoy the video of one of the adult birds that was recovered from lead poisoning as she too gains her freedom and that important second chance at life.
We hope you can feel the joy and perhaps join us for the next release.
Have a great day everyone,