With a final X-ray of his injured wing for the road, the bald eagle rescued from an Oak Lawn backyard in February was released back into the wild on Friday.
Animal care staff from the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn have been treating the raptor for a gunshot wound resulting in a broken wing. The raptor was released in an open field in Pratt’s Wayne Woods near Bartlett on Friday morning.
Staff at the wildlife center determined the eagle was male because of his smaller size (male eagles are smaller than female), and said he was over five years old because it takes that long for the feathers on their heads to turn white.
Oak Lawn animal control officer Barry Adamczyk, who rescued the bird and brought him to the wildlife center in a dehydrated state, assisted by Stickney animal officer, Rob Negrete, did the honors of opening the door to the eagle’s carrier.
A vet performed surgery on the bird las month, removing a bullet from his wing. Up until Friday morning, the raptor was recovering in a specialized enclosure for raptors, where he could fly safely and strengthen his wings.
Staff picked Friday to release the bald eagle because of the good weather. His wing was X-rayed the day before to make sure that his right wing had completely healed. He was also banded.
For several moments, the eagle sat in his carrier, with his back to the gang of eagerly waiting reporters.
“You never know what’s going to happen with a wildlife release,” said Rose Augustine, an animal care worker at Willowbrook Wildlife.
Augustine tapped the back of the carrier in an attempt to coax him out the carrier. Finally she removed a piece a matting from the carrier and within seconds, the bald eagle hopped out and spread his mended wings.
He soared off in the sky, heading east, and was gone, sparing not a second for a photo opp.
Yay for happy endings.X