Alton’s Keep releases another eagle

Published 5:26 pm Tuesday, October 6, 2020

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Altons’ Keep Wildbird Rescue and Rehabilitation Center Inc. recently released a rehabilitated bald eagle back into the wild after healing from an injured wing.

Tommy White, the owner of Altons’ Keep Wildbird Rescue and Rehabilitation Center Inc, was permitted in September of 2018 by United States Fish and Wildlife Service to rehabilitate bald eagles. During the first year, Alton’s Keep rehabilitated 18 bald eagles, giving the center a 46% release rate.

“As of this month, 53 eagles have come into our care with various injuries,” said White. “As of Sept. 26, three eagles are still in our care, and the 24th eagle was released.”

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On the evening of Sept. 20, White received a call from about an injured bald eagle rescued by the park police and volunteers on Colonial Parkway in Williamsburg. Since the other closest bird rehabilitation center permitted to work on bald eagles is in Waynesboro, the eagle was transferred to Alton’s Keep in Suffolk.

“The eagle was entangled in a fishing line and could not fly,” said White. “After I gave him a complete exam, I also discovered a fishing hook in the same wing.”

After removing the hook, White was able to release the eagle, named Captain Roger Rabbit, by the end of that week. White likes to name the birds he works with at the rehabilitation center. According to White, calling the bird by name and talking during the operation can help it stay calm and build trust. On Sept. 26, White held an eagle release at the rehabilitation center off Whaleyville Boulevard.

“It is extremely joyful to release all wild birds back to the wild,” said White.

Alton’s Keep has homeschool education programs every month featuring its education ambassador eagle, Hellena. These programs are open to the public and can visit by appointment by calling 757-416-4098.