Bald Eagle Released Near Walnut Hill (With Photo Gallery)

April 29, 2010

eagle-012.jpgA one-year old rehabilitated bald eagle was released back into the wild Wednesday morning near Walnut Hill.

Once injured and missing her primary flight feathers, the eagle took flight — perhaps a little low and a little unstable at first — and then majestically headed into a wooded area to join a group of eagles that live around a Highway 97A residence near Enon.

The homeowner said she frequently sees nine or ten eagles around her home, often feeding at her pond. That is why the location was chosen to release the female eagle; for eagles, apparently it’s all about social networking.

“Our eagle has had the opportunity to socialize with other eagles,” Dorothy Kaufmann, director of the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida, said of the eagle that caregivers called “Eagle #3″. “But here, with the other eagles, she will get to go in and learn with the social networking for learning things like how to hunt and preparing for migration in the fall.” (Not all North Escambia eagles migrate, Kaufmann added.)

For more photos from the Walnut Hill eagle release, click here.

eagle-031.jpgThe juvenile eagle was rescued in Tallahassee last year with an infection and trauma to her left wing, unable to fly or fend for herself. After initial care from the St. Francis Wildlife Association in Tallahassee, she was transferred to Pensacola on July 17, 2009, for long term rehabilitation, maximum care and conditioning. Dr. Tommy Knight, a veterinarian with the Westside Animal Hospital cared for the eagle’s medical needs during numerous house calls to the facility, which included a 100 foot enclosed flight conditioning area.

Kaufmann told the property owners that they will be able to spot the rescued eagle because she will fly “a little less than perfect”, perhaps favoring her old injury.

“The ones that have been in the wild are just perfect, but ours will be different,” she said.

Eagle #3 was hooded and hand-carried for transportation by car to North Escambia. A hooded eagle is a calm eagle, Kaufmann said. The hood remained on the eagle until shortly before flight time, Kaufmann holding her with thick gloves.

eaglerelease.jpg“This may not be graceful,” Kaufmann said as she prepared to release the bird. “I don’t know if she’s ready, but I’m ready.”

“She’s going up in the trees. There’s another one. An adult. Go baby,” she said as the eagle dipped a little toward the ground — the ungraceful part as predicted.

“Somebody else (another eagle) just met her. Isn’t that great?”

Kaufmann said the rehabilitated eagle should be able to breed and have a normal lifespan of 30 to 45 years. She added that juvenile eagles are chocolate brown in color. They are about five-years old when the feathers on their head and tail become white and they take on that classic bald eagle look.

For more photos from the Walnut Hill eagle release, click here.

Pictured top: A juvenile eagle is released by Dorothy Kaufmann, director of the Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida, Wednesday morning in Enon near Walnut Hill.  Pictured middle: Eagle #3. photos, click to enlarge. Pictured below: This submitted file photo shows other eagles on the property. 



16 Responses to “Bald Eagle Released Near Walnut Hill (With Photo Gallery)”

  1. Dave on April 30th, 2010 2:38 pm

    Releasing these photos is an infringement of the poor bird’s privacy rights.

  2. Dorothy Kaufmann on April 29th, 2010 8:45 pm

    Thanks so much for everything….we appreciate everyone lending a hand to get this eagle released back where she belonged.

  3. interested reader on April 29th, 2010 7:54 pm

    Thanks for the great pictures. We live on S hwy. 99 and we see eagles all the time. They are one of the perks we enjoy up here in the north end.

  4. AL on April 29th, 2010 11:38 am

    awesome!!! Thanks so much for giving us all a look into the release of the amazing bird!
    I saw Bald Eagles when we went to Steve’s Catfish Farm….. (not an ad, I dont’ know the road he is on)

  5. Springfever on April 29th, 2010 10:19 am

    What a great story! Awsome pics too!

  6. Goat leg on April 29th, 2010 9:09 am

    it’s beautiful

  7. kb on April 29th, 2010 8:52 am

    thanks William. I will have to start paying more attention from now on and be on the look out for them when i’m driving around those areas.

  8. Birdlover on April 29th, 2010 8:49 am

    Watching an eagle fly is one of those moments in life that everyone should experience. It’s an awesome, humbling experience to see such a great bird and symbol of our nation.

    I can’t imagine standing next to one watching it fly for the first time. Thank you William for taking us there. I’m breathless.

  9. Mom on April 29th, 2010 8:48 am

    Wow. If you did not look at the pictures in the photo gallery, please do. There are a few closeup shots in there that are just unbelieveable.

    God’s handiwork is amazing.

  10. ncb on April 29th, 2010 8:46 am

    I too have seen a pair of eagles on Kansas Road and also on Hwy 99. It is awesome to see these huge birds .

  11. Molino Guy on April 29th, 2010 8:44 am

    Amazing! It must have been an awesome sight to stand that close to her and then see her fly!

    Hats off to the wildlife people. And than you for publishing this for us to see. It was amazing.

  12. not an english major on April 29th, 2010 8:29 am

    Absolutely gorgeous! Thanks William! These scenes have brightened my day!

  13. Resident on April 29th, 2010 7:44 am

    Wow! Great photos. I really appreciate you bringing these to use. I really enjoyed looking at the photos in the gallery over and over. It would have been amazing to have watched this in person.

  14. William on April 29th, 2010 7:41 am

    To kb:

    There are actually quite a few eagles in the Walnut Hill area. I don’t know where you were yesterday, but I know of two regular spots to see different eagles on Hwy 97/ Atmore Hwy.

    One is a dead tree behind the guardrail on 97 just north of South Hwy 99 (near the Walnut Hill Farm Supply). The other is a dead tree near some woods by old catfish ponds about a mile south of Tungoil Road.

    It’s about a 12 mile drive from the Tungoil/97 location to yesterday’s release location, but it’s only about four miles if you can fly like an eagle.

  15. deBugger on April 29th, 2010 7:25 am

    Great!!! They do fantastic work— I have taken them many orphaned fledglings & other small animals to be nursed back to health.

    The Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida is always in need of donations—

    Sanctuary Wish List

    Here is a list of the supplies we use on a daily basis. Please feel free
    to drop off any of these items at our facility 7 days a week between
    8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Your donations will be greatly appreciated.

    Purina Cat Chow
    Purina Puppy Chow
    Peas & Corn (can/frozen)
    Raw Peanuts/Pecans
    Wild Bird Seed
    Meat Baby Food
    Sweet Potatoes
    Dark Leafy Greens
    Animal Crackers
    Graham Crackers
    Clorox Clean-up
    Liquid Laundry Soap
    Fresh/Frozen fish
    Trash Bags (13 gallon)
    Toilet Paper
    Venison/Red Meat
    Paper Towels
    1st Class Stamps
    Color Copy Paper
    Baby Blankets
    Ceramic Pet Bowls
    Pine Straw
    Heating Pads (no auto off)
    Misc. Office Supplies

    their website-

  16. kb on April 29th, 2010 5:59 am

    Me and my husband was driving back from atmore yesterday and I spotted an Eagle purched on the very top of a dead tree in a yard on old atmore highway. I asked him to stop the vehicle and look to make sure I was seeing right. It’s the first time I had actually spotted one. Now I sort of wonder if it could have been it. Hmmmm??????

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