On Friday, January 28th, I posted about the Norfolk Botanical Gardens Eagles as my Favorite Things Friday. I posted an update on February 16th, announcing 3 eggs laid. I didn't get a chance to post that all three eggs had hatched and eaglets were doing ok, before the devastating news that the Mama Eagle had been hit and killed by a landing plane. I never followed up about what happened to them, although I followed them regularly.
The three eaglets were removed from the nest and taken to a world-renowned wildlife center. The Wildlife Center of Virginia. This wasn't without controversy, but the experts decided that Daddy Eagle wouldn't be able to provide for three growing eaglets and himself, and that several would perish or Dad would perish if he tried.
Fast forward to this week, and three months to the DAY that they were removed from the nest.
All three were released into the wild, as well as two other juvenile eaglets that from different situations that were rehabbed and ready to go. A 5 eaglet release into the wild.
I went and attended this in person, and this is my Favorite Thing Friday this week (even though it happened on Wednesday!)
These incredible birds have come full circle and are now free to live out their destiny as the symbol of our country. Here are some pictures of the big day:
|This picture does not do justice how many people were there. Last I heard there were 1200 people from 22 state and 4 provinces in Canada.|
|DGIF (Department of Game and Inland Fisheries) were on hand just in case a rescue was needed.|
|Ed Clark was THE man of the hour. He is one of the main people in charge at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.|
|Ed Clark gets ready to release the first of 5. Can you just SEE the size of these creatures???|
|Release in ONE......|
|Three! And off she goes!|
|Dr. Miranda (a key vet in the eaglets care) gets set to release another one.|
|Off to freedom in ONE.....|
|Steve Living (with DGIF) gets set for another release. Note the sign in the background. It refers to the mama eagle who some have dubbed "Lady Legacy".|
|Getting ready for lift-off!|
|And the toss!|
|And she's airborne!|
It was truly emotional to watch, and I cried as each eagle flew to it's freedom. Happy and Proud tears. I wasn't the only one! Lots of folks were crying... LOL! I think it was really Eagle dander in my eye....
And lastly, for your viewing pleasure, I managed to capture one of the releases on video:
Thanks for hanging in there through all the pics and the video! I hope you enjoyed it ever-so-slightly!