Eagles, rejoice!

Published 10:14 pm Friday, May 4, 2018

Eagles in Virginia, and the folks who love them, have great reason to rejoice this week.

Tommy White, a wildlife rehabilitator and co-founder of Altons’ Keep Wildbird Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Suffolk with his wife, Robin Alton-White, recently received a federal permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a state permit from Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The permits will allow him to keep and care for bald and golden eagles.

White has been working on getting these permits for the past five years. In that time, he has helped nurse many wetland birds and owls back to health, but his main love has been eagles.

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Eagles face a number of dangers, including lead poisoning from ingesting ammunition that hunters shoot at deer and other game. Occasionally they also suffer car strikes or other trauma.

The need in this area is great; White has already handled five bald eagle cases since his recent licensing.

Until receiving these permits, White has had to transport injured eagles to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro, about 180 miles away. It’s a long drive, and some of the sick and injured eagles don’t make it the whole way.

The number of eagles arriving at the Wildlife Center of Virginia has increased in recent years, and having White licensed to care for them will relieve the burden of eagles coming from this area. That will allow eagles statewide to get better care, no matter where they end up. Hampton Roads eagles will be able to rehabilitate without the stress of a long vehicle trip.

White is a caring and dedicated advocate for the birds that wind up in his care, and he has spent many years improving his Suffolk facility to better rehabilitate birds. He deserved the chance to care for bald and golden eagles himself, rather than just rescuing them and driving them to Waynesboro.

We think if eagles could read, they would be just as thrilled with this news as we are.