The eagle was given a probiotic powder to restore "good" bacteria to her digestive tract. By Aug. 20, she was accepting white rats for food and was steadily rebuilding her strength, and by Monday she was flying well in a 40-foot enclosure in TRAC's flight barn, and appeared to be ready for release.
On Wednesday, the eagle was brought to a hillside hayfield near Lewisburg in a darkened, padded carrier, from which she would be released. "She'd gone to sleep in the carrier, so we had to get her awake first," said Perrone.
The carrier was set atop a large, round hay bale. After the carrier's door was opened, the eagle, known as "The Lady" to the TRAC staff, emerged after a few moments and sprang into flight.
"It was a gorgeous release," Perrone said. "We watched it fly for quite a long distance -- more than a mile."
Eagles, Perrone said, "are majestic, super-intelligent creatures. Their presence speaks to something in people that seems to be universal. Grown men get choked up when they turn in injured or sick eagles, and feel to call back and check on them. It's just really neat to be able to release one that was so close to death. 'Heartwarming' is an overworked word, but that's what it is."
A video of the eagle's release is available at TRAC's Website, www.tracwv.org.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.