Conserve Wildlife Blog

Human/Wildlife Interactions

August 9th, 2010

Juvenile eagle released back into the wild

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

The eagle in a carrier to be transported from Sandy Hook to The Raptor Trust. Image courtesy National Park Service.

Last Tuesday I met with Debra and Gail, volunteers with The Raptor Trust in northern New Jersey to help release a juvenile eagle. The release was coordinated by Kathy Clark with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program and Cathy with the Raptor Trust. They transported the eagle for more than 2 hours to see it return to the wild. I was merely there because I have experience with handling birds of prey (in case anything were to happen).

The eagle was found on Gunnison Beach in late June inside Gateway National Recreation Area on Sandy Hook.The eagle was spotted by park visitors on the beach. The eagle was distressed but had no injuries. Jeanne McArthur–Heuser, NPS transported the eagle to the Raptor Trust, located in Millington, New Jersey.

Many juvenile raptors or birds of prey are not 100% successful at catching prey. Some rely on their parents for food until they learn the skills to catch prey that they will use for the rest of their lives.

The eagle takes flight after being rehabilitated at the Raptor Trust. © Debra Falanga

The eagle was rehabilitated at the Raptor Trust for 6 weeks. It was a male and was banded with a federal USGS bird band for future tracking. At the Raptor Trust it got plenty of rest and relaxation under their care. I met Gail and Debra in Millville where we traveled south towards Newport. We released the eagle at a location determined by Kathy Clark in Cumberland County at Nantuxent Wildlife Management Area. The release was uneventful (which is good!!!). We basically stood behind and to the sides of a large dog crate and opened the door. I held the door open and lifted up the back to try and encourage the eagle to leave the crate. After about 45 seconds, the eagle hopped out of the crate and immediately took off into the distance with a strong flight.

Without the care of the National Park Service, The Raptor Trust, and the Endangered and Nongame Species Program, this eagle might not have survived! This is a clear example of how we are all connected and how delicate the balance of nature is! We hope this eagle lives on and is able to flourish in New Jersey!

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: