Click here to view a slideshow of the eagle release.
Randy Mays of Fort Calhoun, Neb., a volunteer for Raptor Recovery Nebraska for four years, has helped to rehabilitate four bald eagles this year. But he had never released one back into the wild.
“It's intimidating, but also wonderful at the same time,” Mays said.
More than 100 spectators were at the visitors center at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge near Missouri Valley, Iowa, on Saturday to watch the release of a juvenile female bald eagle that had been found injured near Grand Island, Neb.
Denise Lewis, outreach coordinator for the raptor nonprofit group, counted to three, and then Mays launched the 12-pound, 3-year-old bird into the air.
The crowd applauded as the eagle flew low over the lake about 100 yards before settling in a snow-covered field near the visitors center. After a short rest, the eagle flew into a nearby tree.
“It was a great launch,” Mays said. “I hope she can find friends.”
— Mark Davis