The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey (Center) will partner with the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) to release a Bald Eagle that was found injured in a Lake County cow pasture earlier this month. The Center will release the eagle on Wednesday, March 1 at Lake Norris Conservation Area, land owned by SJRWMD.
Center volunteers rescued the Bald Eagle, a female, and brought it to the Center’s Raptor Trauma Clinic on February 4. Clinic staff evaluated the bird and determined it had abrasions, swelling in the left wrist area, and increased lead levels (lead poisoning is common yet dangerous for eagles). Clinic staff treated the bird, and it will spend its last few days in the Center’s Magic of Flight Barn, a 100-foot structure where rehabilitated eagles gain strength and stamina before they are released back to the wild. On the morning of its release, the eagle will receive a final health check and will be banded with a unique ID band on its leg, so that it can be identified in future sightings.
The Lake Norris Conservation Area, located in Eustis, is owned and managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District, which purchased the property to protect its extensive hardwood swamp and Black Water Creek, a major tributary of the Wekiva River.
When selecting a release location, the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey looks for a safe location close to where the bird was found, giving it the best chance of survival (and reunion with its mate and offspring, if applicable). It is only through partnerships with landowners like SJRWMD that a release like this is possible.
Bald Eagles were removed from the federal list of Threatened and Endangered Species in 2007, and though they are still protected by both state and federal laws, they face a variety of threats to their survival. Common threats include habitat and nest destruction, collision with vehicles, and territorial fights. With continuing land development, many eagles are choosing to nest on man-made structures such as power lines and communication towers.
The Center treats more than 700 raptors each year, including eagles, hawks, and owls. Those that survive are either released where they were found or placed at zoos and other properly licensed facilities nationwide. Visitors can see Florida’s native raptors up close at the Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland! Visit us from Tuesday – Sunday between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Learn more.
Audubon Florida protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1900, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at fl.audubon.org.