11 a.m. Release Set for Long Island Park in Campbell County;

Eagle “Fell from Sky” in Mid-June

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, a leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, will release an adult Bald Eagle on Tuesday, July 30 at 11 a.m. at Long Island Park in Campbell County. Ed Clark, Co-Founder and President of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, will release the eagle.

The release is free and open to the public. Individuals who wish to attend are asked to RSVP to the Center at rsvp@wildlifecenter.org. The address for Long Island Park is 801 Railroad Avenue, Long Island VA 24569. Release participants are asked to meet in the parking area at the end of the park access road.

The Bald Eagle to be released on Tuesday – an adult female bird – reportedly “fell from the sky” on June 12 at a landfill in Campbell County. A Conservation Police Officer was able to capture the bird and transported it to the Wildlife Center that evening.

Upon admission, the eagle was lying down and motionless; Dr. Karra Pierce, the admitting veterinarian, initially feared that the eagle had died during transport. Dr. Pierce suspected that the eagle had ingested some sort of toxin; she gave the bird fluids and a heart-stimulation medication and housed the eagle in an oxygen chamber. The eagle was admitted as Patient #19-1560, the 1,560th patient admitted to the Center during 2019 [the Center will treat about 3,000 patients this year].

The eagle had been banded in 2012 as a hatch-year bird in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

Within a few days, the eagle was much brighter, was eating on her own, and appeared increasingly feisty. The eagle was treated for lead exposure and was moved to an outdoor flight pen on June 26. A complete case history is available on the Center’s website, at: https://www.wildlifecenter.org/critter-corner/current-patients/bald-eagle-19-1560

The eagle has spent the past few weeks in the Center’s outdoor pens, building up strength and stamina. Center veterinary and rehabilitation staff have been regularly exercising the eagle; they have determined that the eagle is able to fly well and is ready to be returned to the wild.

It is estimated that the Bald Eagle population of North America numbered about half a million before European settlement. With the loss of habitat, hunting, and the effects of DDT and other pesticides, the U.S. eagle population plummeted. In 1977, for example, there were fewer than 50 Bald Eagle nests in Virginia.

Today, the Bald Eagle population is on the rebound. There are now more than 3,000 active Bald Eagle nests in the Chesapeake Bay region.

The resurgence of the Bald Eagle population is regarded as a great success story of the environmental conservation effort. In Virginia, the growth of the Bald Eagle population also means that, with increasing competition for food and habitat, eagles are moving away from traditional nesting areas along the Chesapeake Bay and lower reaches of tidal rivers. Bald Eagles are increasingly being spotted – and rescued – from areas like the Virginia Piedmont, including Campbell County.

Since its founding in 1982, the Wildlife Center has treated scores of Bald Eagles, done extensive studies of environmental factors that affect eagles and other wildlife, and worked to reform laws and regulations to strengthen the protection afforded to Bald Eagles. Thus far in 2019, the Center has admitted 22 eagles for treatment; the Center is currently treating four Bald Eagles, including the bird to be released on Tuesday.

The goal of the Center is “to treat to release” – to restore patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild. On July 26, for example, the Center released another Bald Eagle, admitted from a landfill in King George County in mid-June.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is an internationally acclaimed teaching and research hospital for wildlife and conservation medicine. Since its founding in 1982, the nonprofit Center has cared for more than 80,000 wild animals, representing 200 species of native birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The Center’s public education programs share insights gained through the care of injured and orphaned wildlife, in hopes of reducing human damage to wildlife.

In July 2011, the Center launched Critter Cam, which allows wildlife enthusiasts around the world to watch a variety of Center patients, including the eagle to be released on Tuesday. Patients that are currently “featured” on one of the three Critter Cam feeds, in addition to the Bald Eagle to be released on Tuesday, are two rambunctious Black Bear Cubs and three Wildlife Center permanent residents – Buddy, a Bald Eagle; Buttercup, a Black Vulture; and Maggie, a Peregrine Falcon. A link to Critter Cam can be found at www.wildlifecenter.org.

Long Island Park is a 60-acre tract along the banks of the Staunton River, administered by Campbell County. Additional information about Long Island is available at: http://www.campbellcountyva.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Long-Island-Park-4.