Injured eagle returned to wild at Letchworth park

Messinger Woods Wildlife Care and Education CenterAn eagle takes flight June 6 at Letchworth State Park. The bird had been injured in December.

A rehabilitated female bald eagle took to the skies over Letchworth State Park earlier this month following nearly six months of recovery.

On Dec. 14, 2019, state Park Police requested assistance from state Department of Environmental Conservation Officers Josh Crain and Ron Gross to capture the injured eagle at Letchworth State Park.

Once captured, the DEC officers transferred the eagle to Cornell University for evaluation. Experts at Cornell determined the eagle needed surgery, including placement of a pin in its wing, according to the weekly DEC news release reporting on ECO activity.

The eagle had experienced a spiral mid diaphyseal humeral fracture, the main bone in her wing which supports flight, according to an April 24 Facebook post by Messinger Woods Wildlife Care and Education Center in Holland, where the eagle was transferred following its surgery.

An external fixator was put on the bird at Cornell to assist in stabilizing the bone while it healed. After the fixator was removed, the bird was transferred to Messinger Woods, where it underwent extensive rehabilitation in a 165-foot flight cage until ready for release back at Letchworth.

In the April 24 post, the rehabilitation center reported that the eagle had “improved in her overall ability to move that wing, and she is stretching her muscles and tissue surrounding her injury. She is a big, beautiful Eagle, and we are so happy to be a part of her journey back to freedom.”

The eagle was returned to the wild on June 6. It was released from the same location at Letchworth State Park where it had originally been rescued from.

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