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Eagle Release-Part III: Prepare for Launch

One can only imagine the number of hours that have gone into treating and rehabilitatingA rehabilitated immature female bald eagle undergoes her final physical in preparation of being released back into the wild. Photo by Raptor Education Group, Inc. each of these birds since they were fortunate enough to be discovered and then delivered to their saviors at REGI. With all of that behind them, let's take a look at the final moments before they're back soaring in the sky.
Its the day before the big release and each bird is subjected to one more "final inspection" before being granted clearance for the next day's takeoff. They've been exercising for months now to strengthen those important flight muscle all the while being observed on remote cameras by the REGI staff. During this final physical they are weighed, fed a high protein meal and thoroughly inspected by the staff. Each eagle must pass this final physical before they will be released into the wild.
The next morning comes early when it's time to get everything ready for the nearly 4 hour commute. The biggest task? Capturing the birds for transport from flight training building! Each bird is placed in a traveling crate and loaded into the "REGI Mobile". The crate helps to minimize the external stimulus by offering limited noise and sight while keeping beaks, talons and wings “inside the vehicle” at all times. In short, it provides a safe environment affording as much "comfort" as possible during the trip.
The rehabilitated bald eagles are transported to their release site in wooden crates.  This minimizes external stimuli to help keep them calm and protected.
As one of the lucky feathered participates of the Eagle Release event, when your number is drawn REGI’s Marge Gibson gently removes you from "the box" to cradle you in her arms and your 15 minutes of fame begins! Whether the lens is attached to a DSLR, a point-and-shoot camera, a phone, an iPad or the human eye, they are ALL pointed at you! While the bird may not yet appreciate the event is cause for celebration, the crowd most certainly does.
The Last "Free Lunch". Just prior to release, rehabilitated bald eagles are fed strips of heart muscle to provied valuable protien until they've hunted down their next meal.
After questions have been asked and the knowledge transferred, the eagle is just moments from being reintroduced into the wild. Before being launched into the sky, however, there is one more complimentary pre-flight meal at the hands of Marge.
The offered venison heart muscle is packed with protein and will provide vital nutrients while the bird becomes reacquainted to the fact that there will be no more free lunch. In just moments from now, with their injury/illness and subsequent rehabilitation behind them, they will begin the first day of the rest of their life - wild and free.
Down the Hatch. Just prior to release, rehabilitated bald eagles are fed strips of heart muscle to provide valuable protien until they've hunted down their next meal.
Just as Marge offered the crowd the leftovers from the zip lock bag, we’re here to tell you that there’s still plenty more yet to come here on Feathered Hope too.  Tomorrow the series continues with “The Release”.  If you missed out on the prior two posts, please find the links below:
Eagle Release- Part I: The Arrival
Eagle Release- Part II: Education


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