For the second year thanks to the Bird Treatment and Learning Center (TLC) in Anchorage hundreds of Progress Days visitors from all over the world were allowed to experience an eagle being returned to the wild after being rehabilitated at the Center. Dave Dorsey a volunteer with TLC brought the bird to the Peninsula where it received a military escort from the Alaska National Guard to the banks of the Kenai River at Soldotna Creek Park. “This bird came to us on the 25th of June and was found in Anchorage where it was found on the ground not flying and one of our volunteers went out and picked it up and brought it in to the clinic and we were unable to find anything specifically wrong with it like broken bones but did have some tender spots on one its wings and we guess it flew into something and bruised itself up pretty good where it was unable to fly. So it stayed with us and rehabbed very quickly and proved to us that it was ready to come back to the wild so decided to bring it down to Soldotna so the folks at Progress Days could experience it being returned to the wild,” explained Dorsey.
According to Dorsey the rehabilitation process begins with the bird in a small mew, or room, where it can’t fly around and hurt itself then as the rehab progresses they are moved to a larger outside mew about ten foot square so they can begin to move around, stretch their muscles and continue to get stronger. “We then have another location at Ft. Richardson on the back side in a secluded area that has three cells 25 feet wide 25 feet tall and 100 feet long where they can fly back and forth and develop the wing strength they need before they can be released. That’s where this guy came from yesterday and we brought him in for his final exam this morning before we put him in th release box and brought him on down for this happy event. He’s in perfect health now, we trimmed his beak up so it’s in perfect shape for hunting and feeding and he has no issues any longer whatsoever and should be able to take care of himself very well, we guess his age to be about four because of is colorization. It’s a lot of hard work to get a bird to this point, but very worthwhile and we love coming down here to share these release experiences,” said Dorsey.
Bird TLC is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to rehabilitating sick, injured or orphaned wild birds and providing avian education programs to the public. Dr. James R. Scott, an Anchorage veterinarian, now retired, founded Bird TLC in 1988. Dr. Scott, along with other Alaskan veterinarians and volunteers, donate their time to treat these birds in need. In addition to medical care, Bird TLC provides a variety of educational programs to increase people’s awareness of the wild birds around them and to encourage preservation of their habitat. Bird TLC is supported by education program fees and contributions from individuals, private foundations, and corporations. For more information go to www.birdtlc.net.