Bald Eagle Released In The Valley

Aug 20, 2021

The Wildlife Center of Virginia released a rehabilitated bald eagle in Grottoes on Thursday. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports. 

A bald eagle took to the skies in a clearing at Grand Caverns Regional Park on Thursday. It was a triumphant return to the wild for the roughly three-year old raptor, which has been a patient at the Wildlife Center of Virginia since March.

ED CLARK: … If the bird should happen to land on you, please don't scream. Suffer indignity because the screams just upset the bird. Alright, are you ready? Alright. One, two, three! [tosses bird] Over the shelter! Around the trees! Around the corner!

Ed Clark
Credit Randi B. Hagi

Ed Clark, the founder and president of the center near Waynesboro, told the crowd of more than 250 onlookers that the eagle had been admitted with two fractured bones that were likely caused by a car, but the underlying issue was lead poisoning. Raptors are exposed to the toxin when they eat prey that humans have killed with lead bullets.

CLARK: The lead issue in this case is likely to have been the condition that led this bird to be hit by the car in the first place. It's like if you drink three martinis for lunch, drive into a tree and you're killed, it's not the tree that killed you. And the same is true with this animal being injured by an automobile – it's not really the car that was the problem. It's the lead that was the problem.

For WMRA News, I'm Randi B. Hagi.