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Bald eagle release today

August 29, 2013 9:47am

The Wildlife Center of Virginia, a leading teaching and research hospital for native wildlife, will release a bald eagle on Friday, August 30 at 11 a.m. at Jamestown Beach Park. The release is free and open to the public. Individuals who wish to attend are asked to RSVP to the Center at

The eagle will be released by Ed Clark, President and Co-Founder of the Wildlife Center.  Also participating in the release event will be Stephen Living, a wildlife biologist at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Ed Clark, of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, holds a bald eagle he's preparing to release.

Ed Clark, of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, holds a bald eagle he’s preparing to release.

This Bald Eagle was one of two hatched earlier this year at a nest on Jamestowne Island at Colonial National Historical Park. The eagles were blown from their nest during a storm; a re-nesting effort by VDGIF was not successful. The two eagles were admitted to the Center on June 14 and assigned Patient Numbers #13-1477 and #13-1478. While Eagle #13-1477 did not survive, #13-1478 has done well. The eagle has spent several weeks growing and maturing and perfecting its flight skills in the Center’s outdoor flight pens. A complete history is available on the Center’s website at:

The eagle has been one of the featured patients on Critter Cam – the Center’s web-based live camera feed.

On July 24 Eagle #13-1478 was fitted with a GPS transmitter.  VDGIF Biologist Jeff Cooper is undertaking an ongoing research study in which 90 Bald Eagles will receive transmitters.  The GPS transmitter will allow VDGIF and the Wildlife Center to track #13-1478 for up to two years.

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 in Virginia is on the rebound.  It is estimated that there are now more than 1,000 active Bald Eagle nests in the Commonwealth.

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.

Every year, about 2,600 animals – ranging from Bald Eagles to chipmunks – are brought to the Wildlife Center for care.  “The goal of the Center is to restore our patients to health and return as many as possible to the wild,” Clark has said.  “At the WildlifeCenter, we treat to release.”

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 60,000 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 has allowed wildlife enthusiasts around the world to watch a variety of Center patients, including #13-1478.  A link to Critter Cam may be found on the Center’s homepage –

Jamestown Beach Park is part of the James City County Park system.  Additional information is available at


About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?