First 2020 bald eagle released

Published 10:24 pm Thursday, January 16, 2020

On Jan. 11, a bird dubbed the “Chuckatuck Eagle” took flight, marking the first bald eagle release of 2020 for the Altons’ Keep Wildbird Rescue and Rehabilitation Center Inc. in Suffolk.

The Chuckatuck eagle, a female, was so named because the bird was rescued in Chuckatuck, according to Tommy White, who co-founded the Suffolk rehabilitation center with his wife, Robin Alton-White.

“This bird broke three of its primary flight feathers and could not fly,” White wrote in an email. The bird sustained no other injuries, and there were no witnesses as to how those injuries occurred, White added.


Email newsletter signup

White replaced the eagle’s broken flight feathers with feathers harvested from the remains of another eagle, he wrote, in a process of feather-mending that’s known as “imping.”

“The eagle could then fly and was flight tested for conditioning,” he wrote.

Alton’s Keep took in 18 injured bald eagles in 2019, eight of which were released, and the rehabilitation center has already seen three bald eagles rescued this year.

“Since the first of this year we have rescued nine birds including three bald eagles and several owls and hawks,” White wrote in an email Tuesday, plus one gull. As of Thursday, another hawk was brought to Altons’ Keep, but the hawk died from its injuries, White said.

Visit the “Altons’ Keep Wildbird Rescue and Rehabilitation Center Inc” Facebook page for more information, or call 416-4098.