A golden eagle rehabilitated by Wild Friends at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, was released back into the wild on Nov. 19 near where he was originally found in northern Arizona.
The eagle had been grounded on the side of the road after sustaining an injury on Feb. 28.
Brought back to Wild Friends in critical condition, staff were able to stabilize the eagle for onsite veterinarians to perform emergency surgery. X-rays had shown that his crop, a thin-walled pouch connected to the esophagus, was full of an unknown material. He was also treated for symptoms of lead poisoning.
A second surgery was needed when the eagle’s crop came through the stitches, causing the need to reside in intensive care for over a month. During that time, the eagle’s flight muscles atrophied.
That meant several months of training in the 100-foot bird flight building at Best Friends. At first, the eagle could only fly one or two laps. By the time of his release, he was able to sustain flight between the higher perches for eight laps with no breaks.
Once ready for release, Best Friends contacted Arizona Game and Fish Department for a release sight. Gunsight Point was chosen, as it was just 30 miles outside of Fredonia where the eagle had been initially found. This gave Best Friends and Arizona Game and Fish staff a great view as the eagle was released.
Wild Friends offers the following tips should you encounter injured wildlife on the road:
In addition to its licensed wildlife facilities, Wild Friends is also home to many species of adoptable animals in search of loving homes such as ducks, chickens, reptiles and small mammals. For more information, visit www.bestfriends.org.