Juvenile bald eagle released into the wild

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Posted at 6:56 PM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-05 19:31:42-04

SOMERSET, Ky. (LEX 18) — The bald eagle is synonymous with America.

The imagery is on the presidential seal, your dollar bills, and you can also see them in the skies.

You can also spot them in Kentucky. When one is found injured in the Lake Cumberland area, an army of volunteers springs into action to rescue the bird in hopes to one day release it back into the wild.

That's what happened two months ago. Ben Wells tracked one down in the Burnside area.

Renamed Victory, the juvenile bald eagle was rescued from the jaws of infection and rehabilitated at the Liberty Nature Center in Somerset.

"We see if they need fluids, antibiotics, if they need to be doctored or treated, what kind of wounds or injuries they have," said Jennifer Ford, Liberty Nature Center Facilities Manager. "Our main goal is to rehabilitate birds such as hawks, eagles, owls, vultures, different type of mammals."

There are dozens of birds on-site, some remaining in crates to try and minimize contact with humans. The goal is to rehab and release, but some are diagnosed with too serious of an injury to return to the wild.

There are, in fact, two bald eagles with permanent wing injuries who call the center home.

"And they are beautiful and we are so lucky to have them to teach people and educate them on the type of bird," said Ford.

They will remain the only two bald eagles on-site, because on Saturday, the day before July 4th, Victory won his battle with infection, and flew back into the wild.

"And when you get to release any type of bird into the wild, it's exciting," said Ford.

But less than 24 hours before Ben Wells could celebrate this triumph, he and his son, Ethan, rescued another young bald eagle.

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Bald eagle rescued on July 2, 2021.

"The bird we released and this bird, are both juvenile. So they're under five years old. They don't have the white head yet," said Wells.

This eagle was found with fishing wire wrapped around its talons. It will be assessed by a veterinarian, then treated. The hope is that soon, it will be released to the skies to follow in Victory's flight.