Raptor Center to release bald eagle Saturday at Wehle Nature Center

AUBURN – Auburn University’s Southeastern Raptor Center will release a bald eagle back into the wild Saturday, Jan. 27, at Wehle Nature Center in Bullock County.

The public is invited to watch raptor center volunteer Curt Barrett release the bird at 9 a.m. at the center, located five miles southeast of the Midway community on County Road 47, approximately halfway between Union Springs and Eufaula. Signs along U.S. Highway 82 mark the route to the center.

“We are releasing it near the location where it was found,” said Liz Crandall, AU veterinary technician. “It has recovered nicely and is flying well.”

Alabama conservation officer Thomas Blair brought the injured adult bald eagle on Nov. 18 to the center, where it was treated for a wounded right wing and blood in its syrinx. The syrinx, a bony chamber where sound is produced, is located where the trachea divides to go to the lungs.

The eagle was given antibiotics and eventually placed in a flight aviary once the wound had healed.

Raptor center officials will also release an adult short-eared owl in early February. Conservation officer Gene Carver brought the adult bird to the center in October after it suffered an injured left wing. A splint was placed on the wing for a month and then the owl was placed in a flight aviary for rehabilitation. Raptor center staff member Stephanie Stillwell will release the bird at a date and location to be determined later.

“This owl is a rare bird at the raptor center,” Crandall said. “They are migratory, and although they are widely distributed throughout the United States, their breeding range is mainly throughout Canada.”

The center, part of the College of Veterinary Medicine, has a mission of rehabilitating injured or orphaned raptors, educating the public, and researching new aspects of raptor biomedicine. Anyone wishing to report an injured raptor in the wild should call (334) 844-6347.

Media Note: For more information about Saturday’s release, call Liz Crandall at (334) 321-7760 or (334) 663-1861.

(Contributed by Charles Martin.)

Contact: Charles Martin, (334) 844-9999, (marticd@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999, (clardch@auburn.edu)