Southeastern Raptor Center at AU to release bald eagle Sept. 6 in Dodge County, Ga.

AUBURN – The Southeastern Raptor Center, part of Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, will release a bald eagle back into the wild around 9 a.m. (EDT) on Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Dodge County public fishing area near Eastman, Ga. The public is invited to view the release.

In early June, local residents in Chester, Ga. discovered the bird huddled between two dumpsters. They notified Shannon Morrison, a licensed veterinary technician with Ocmulgee Veterinary Clinic in Eastman, who picked up the bird and transported it to the clinic. After consulting with a wildlife rehabilitator in Georgia, Morrison identified the bird as an immature bald eagle.

Morrison treated the eagle overnight with fluid therapy, and then contacted Liz Crandall of the Southeastern Raptor Center. Crandall, along with Stephanie Stillwell and Laura Ellsaesser from the center, drove to the clinic in Eastman and examined the bird, a female bald eagle estimated to be 2 years old, for trauma and signs of illness. The physical exam showed minor trauma to the right eye, severe emaciation and weakness and an infestation of lice.

The center team brought the eagle back to Auburn where diagnostics revealed no signs of illness or major trauma. The eagle had a healthy appetite and within a short period of time gained 2.5 pounds, one-fourth of its original body weight.

The mission of the Southeastern Raptor Center it to rehabilitate injured or orphaned raptors, to educate the public and to research new aspects of raptor biomedicine. When the bald eagle was ready to be released back into the wild, Morrison and the staff of Ocmulgee Veterinary Clinic selected a release site at the Dodge County Public Fishing Area, part of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division.
Ashley Szczepaniec, a Southeastern Raptor Center volunteer, will release the bald eagle on Saturday.

Szczepaniec, who has assisted at the center for more than three years, is completing her bachelor’s degree in zoology at Auburn University.

Contact: Liz Crandall, (334) 844-6347, or on Sept. 6 at (334) 321 7760 (cell),or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)