‘Second chance at life’: Rehabilitated juvenile bald eagle flies free for first time

Author: CBSMiami.com Team
Published: Updated:
injured eagle
Dr. Don Harris of VCA South Dade Animal Hospital, performs surgery to repair the broken right wing of the eaglet. Credit: Ron Magill Conservation Endowment

After five months of tender loving care and rehabilitation, a juvenile bald eagle that suffered a broken wing when she fell out of a nest was released back into the wild on Saturday.

The bald eagle chick, which fell 85 feet from its South Miami nest following a storm on March 13, was released inside Everglades National Park where it flew free for the first time in its life.

When the eaglet fell, so did its sibling, which did not survive.

The surviving chick was rescued by Jeanne Kaufman, an Audubon Eagle Watch volunteer, and Lloyd Brown, founder of Wildlife Rescue of Dade.

With permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the eaglet was taken to the Wildlife Rescue of Dade facility for life-saving care and hopeful rehabilitation.

Over the last several months, the eagle chick underwent surgery on its seriously fractured wing at the VCA South Dade Animal Hospital and underwent hours of rehabilitation to teach her how to hunt and fly.

The eaglet praticed her flying skills in the special bird of prey enclosure at the Wildlife Rescue of Dade County and was also brought to an open field to develop her flying skills.

In the private open field, she was attached to a string approximately 100 yards long that enabled her to fly for significant distance before she was retrieved to do it again.

Lloyd Brown was with her every step of the way, encouraging her to fly and build her wing strength

Though bald eagles are generally fish eaters, this particular eaglet was offered a variety of animals that she might encounter in the wild to see if she showed any interest.

Surprisingly, though she did enjoy fish, one of her favorite food items was iguanas, according to Ron Magill whose Ron Magill Conservation Endowment completely funded its recovery.

“Though this incredible bird has already overcome tremendous challenges, there are many that she still faces,” posted Magill on his social media. “Though there are things that could go wrong, we must give this spectacular raptor the opportunity to live in the wild as she was meant to. Thanks to Lloyd and the rest of the team, she has already gotten a second chance from what surely would have been death without intervention.”

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