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Rescue eagle released back into the wild in Va. park

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

GUNSTON, Va. – A young eagle is free after being rescued from Bolling Air Force base in May.

Ed Clark with the Virginia Wildlife Center released the eagle Wednesday morning at Mason Neck State Park in Fairfax County.

Choosing to release the eagle at the park is based on the specific habitat it provides.

“This particular area, Mason Neck State Park, Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge and then the private area around are very, very prime habitat areas for Bald Eagles,” Clark says.

The eagle was found in bad shape at Bolling Air Force base in D.C. It had either fallen or been kicked out of its nesting place, Clark says.

The gender of the bird is unknown, though Clark says its size and demeanor indicate it’s probably female. The bird spent the last few months in an aviary, learning skills it would otherwise learn from its parents.

All that training paid off for wildlife workers when the eagle took off immediately after Clark released it in front of a crowd of about 50 people. The bird rested in a high tree for a while, and then was seen flying away with another young eagle.

This was the 24th eagle the Mason Neck National Wildlife Center workers have released this year. Their efforts, in a small way, have helped the endangered species recover.

“From a low point of about 30 nesting pairs in 1970, we may have as many as 1,500 nesting pairs in Virginia now,” Clark says.

Clark estimates that the eagle has a good chance of living a normal life in the wild.

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