Two American bald eagles were released into the wild Wednesday in Crawford County after rehabilitation from injuries at the Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission oversaw release of the female eagles at the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area, State Game Lands 214. Pymatuning was selected as the release site because of its abundant eagle habitat.
A 20-year-old mature eagle, first banded in 1992 near Vernon, Ohio, was captured April 16, 2011, near Union City by Erie County Wildlife Conservation Offcer Larry Smith. The eagle showed wing injures, missing tail feathers, emaciation and dehydration. It had suffered pellet wounds from a gunshot. Recurring infections required a long healing period at Tamarack.
Smith also picked up the immature eagle July 17, 2011, near Six Mile Creek east of Erie. The bird is believed to have suffered from West Nile Virus, which caused its feathers to become deformed during development, prohibiting flight. Rehab workers waited and watched as the eagle’s feathers were naturally restored during molting.
“Tamarack is an excellent facility that we have worked with on numerous occasions, and they have proven themselves to be especially skilled when dealing with raptors including bald eagles,” said Keith Harbaugh, Game Commission Northwest Region director. “Sue DeArment and her team at Tamarack are to be commended for their caring and compassionate work rehabilitating these eagles. We would not be here today to return these birds back to the wild if it were not for their investment of time, skill, energy, and money.”
The Game Commission said the mature female eagle was not returned to the Union City area, where she was an established breeder, because her mate successfully paired up with another eagle during her rehabilitation.