Yesterday (Oct 16) I drove to Smith Mountain Lake State Park in southwest Virginia. It was a beautiful drive, but I wasn't making the trip just for the fall scenery.
A juvenile Bald Eagle was rescued in the Smith Mountain Lake area by the staff at Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center on June 18, 2015. On June 21, the bird was transported to the Wildlife Center of Virginia for continued veterinary care and rehabilitation.
At the Wildlife Center, patients are assigned numbers. This is Bald Eagle #15-1261. And yesterday this bird was being released. Wildlife Center President Ed Clark transported the eagle to the release site and Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center President Sabrina Garvin released the bird back to the wild.
The release site
The eagle traveled in style. I love this crate cover.
Ed Clark - taking the eagle from the crate. I think "feisty" would be the term to describe the eagle in this photo. (That's a good thing.)
Taking some time to let the bird's eyes adjust to the light - and while that is happening, we have a great opportunity to get some pictures.
Fly high 15-1261
This eagle has been fitted with a GPS transmitter attached to it’s body which will track it’s location, how high it flies and it’s movement. She will now be known as SML52 on the Wildlife Center's Eagle Tracking page.
Addendum: October 19, 2015 - The Wildlife Center's eagle tracking page was updated this morning with information about SML52's travels since her release last Friday.
Addendum 2: October 27, 2015 - I looked at the tracking page yesterday and SML52 had checked in on Oct. 23. She was about 15 miles from the release site. This is the report today from SML52's Wildlife Center tracking page:
"During the weekend, Bald Eagle SML52 flew south -- out of Virginia! Today, the young eagle checked in about 110 miles south of her Friday location near Smith Mountain Lake. Currently, the eagle is in Wilkes County, near the town of Millers Creek, and right by Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest."
This is about an hour from me. Day trip! (As soon as it stops raining.)
Addendum 3: November 6, 2015 - There are 3 tracking reports from SML52 since the Oct. 27th. As of yesterday, she was about a mile from Bear Creek Marina on Lake James in North Carolina.
Info about the transmitters: http://wildlifecenter.org/frequently-asked-questions-about-2015-eagle-transmitters
Photos ©Jane Hogan