COSHOCTON, Ohio — A rehabilitated juvenile bald eagle is now soaring high above eastern Ohio after spending two months recovering from anemic injury in July.
Several dozen people gathered at Lake Park outside Coshocton to witness the rare sight of the eagle’s first flight after its recovery at Airmid Place, a wildlife sanctuary; and the Ohio Wildlife Center in Columbus.
“With bald eagles, back in 1979, there were only four nesting pairs and we’ve got them to over a thousand now in this state. So, our efforts and the efforts of the Ohio Wildlife Center, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, a coordinated effort to bring these birds back to Ohio,” says Shane Pyle, co-owner of Airmid Place, with his wife, Angie.
“The Coshocton County Sheriff’s Department had a eagle on the highway. This was a very sick bird. She did not move away when we approached her. She stood her place. Took her back to my office, we made sure she was stable for transport, had been properly hydrated and ready to go, and then took her to the Ohio Wildlife Center in Dublin where they hospitalized her for one week, treated her for thankfully just anemia, then took her to the pre-release facility to prepare her for this release,” says Coshocton Co. Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Sharrock. “You usually can’t walk up to an eagle. I walked right up to her. She didn’t get aggressive at all. I thought she’d been hit by a vehicle. I guess she had a virus. They’ve got her all fixed up now. She’s back in the wild, which is fantastic.”
Shane and his wife, Angie, operate Airmid Place, a wildlife sanctuary where they hope to bring injured wildlife later.
“It is illegal to have any wild animal in your home and to take care of it. It’s illegal; they’re protected,” says Angie Pyle. “Because we have birds, people would contact us all the time about birds and and say, hey, we have decided this is definitely a calling for us. We’ve sought out the certificate and took the classes. Right now we’re in the process of getting a Category Two so that we’ll be able to house the larger birds, raptors, at our facility, at our house that we’ve made and be able to take them from start to finish and get our own releases gone. … We were quite pleased that they said we could bring it back to our territory and release it right here in Coshocton. For us as rehabilitators, this usually comes way down the line, so this was a highlight of our whole track this far.”
“Any time you get a big, powerful animal and you get to show its big powerfulness, it’s pretty great. Obviously when we’re doing hospital work we’re seeing down or lethargic or ill animals and it’s really exciting to see the full ability of a wild animal,” says Casey Philips, Wildlife Hospital Director. Philips opened the animal carrier and allowed the non-named eagle to fly.
Philips tells WHIZ News bald eagles don’t get their white head feathering immediately. Birds have a number in care. This one is known of the bird from Coshocton, she says. Experts did a DNA test and this bird came back as a male. The bird gets its markings later in life, but the age estimate is two to three years.