OLYMPIA – Jan. 2, 2014 – Staff from the Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center plan to release two young bald eagles back to the wild on Friday at Rasar State Park, following the birds’ rescue and rehabilitation.
The birds will be released at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3, in a hay field between the day-use area and the Skagit River, at Rasar State Park, 38730 Cape Horn Road, Concrete. Rasar State Park is a 169-acre camping park on the Skagit River. The park is popular for wildlife viewing – and especially eagle viewing – this time of year. For information about the park, visit www.parks.wa.gov.
The young eagles to be released on Friday both were hatched in the spring of 2013 and needed help because they were injured and too young to survive on their own without their parents to feed and care for them, according to Shona Aitken, education coordinator for the Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
“We’re excited for an opportunity for the release to happen at our park, which is a habitat area for eagles,” said Rasar Park Manager Kevin Kratochvil. “This is the time of year when the eagles arrive in the Skagit Valley to feast on the spawned-out salmon, so there’s plenty for them to eat. And the location for the release is a good place, because it gives the young eagles a chance to gain some altitude in an open setting.”
The first eaglet was found in the spring by a family on Henry Island. The bird was sitting on the ground under a nest on the family property. The family kept their distance and watched for awhile, noticing that eagle parents were caring for another young bird in the nest above but not caring for the youngster on the ground. The family called the center, and the eagle was taken there for rehabilitation. The second eaglet arrived at the center in early July, after residents found it caught in a barbed wire fence near Mount Vernon. By mid-August, both eaglets were strong, healthy and flying well, so they were moved to an Eagle Flight enclosure to build up their muscle strength. They are now considered ready to be released.
The Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on San Juan Island serves all of San Juan and Skagit Counties and north Whidbey Island. The center cares for approximately 500 animals a year, including a wide range of local wildlife that includes songbirds, raptors, water birds, marine mammals and land mammals. The center has a network of animal transport volunteers who rescue or collect the injured animals and help get them to the center for care. Anyone in Skagit County who finds an injured or orphaned wild animal is invited to call 360-378-5000. To learn more about the center, visit www.wolfhollowwildlife.org.
The parks and communities around Concrete, Marblemount and Rockport are the home of the Skagit Eagle Festival in January. For more information, visit www.SkagitEagleFestival.com.
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