2121 52nd Ave SE, Naples, FL
NAPLES — An American bald eagle on the verge of death in February is back in the skies above Picayune Strand State Park.
Officials from the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey and the Florida Division of Forestry released an adult male bald eagle Tuesday afternoon to end the bird’s two-month rehabilitation from flight feather damage.
On Feb. 10, forest ranger Anthony Curella and park ranger Mike Murnhan discovered the eagle while taking inventory of the state park’s tree growth. The pair chased down and captured the eagle after observing that it was unable to fly and needed veterinary attention.
“It was dying of dehydration. It wasn’t able to fly or get away from anything, nor could it eat. It would have been dead within another day or so,” Curella said.
At the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, north of Orlando, the eagle received a procedure called imping to repair its flight features as well as flight re-conditioning.
Audubon EagleWatch coordinator Lynda White said that after a month, the bald eagle was flying within the center’s 100-foot cage and it became apparent to them that he was ready to be released into the wild.
Around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Naples resident Geraldine Martin had the honor of physically releasing the raptor into a clearing near Everglades Boulevard and the Interstate 75 overpass.
Martin is a major donor to the Audubon of Florida.
“I am quite overwhelmed and honored,” said Martin.
Officials from the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey said the eagle is the 390th successful rehabilitation that the program has released into the wild.