Kookesh, Thomas to release eagle Friday
Staff and guests of the American Bald Eagle Foundation on Friday will release a rehabilitated eagle from captivity at the slide area at 19 Mile Haines Highway.
The release is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Eagle foundation director Cheryl McRoberts said state Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Haines, and state Sen. Albert Kookesh, D-Angoon, will attend to release the eagle, a bird that was struck by a car in November last year near 14 Mile Haines Highway and has been recuperating in Juneau.
The event kicks off the summer season for the foundation, which began housing three educational raptors in its mews last month: A bald eagle named George, a Lanner Saker falcon called Zilla, and a barred owl named Hunter.
The birds have adapted quickly to their new surroundings, McRoberts said. "Hunter is sitting right here in the office," she said Monday.
Foundation board member Dan Hart, who last winter became certified to handle educational raptors, said Hunter had been trained to "come to the (falconer’s) glove" and was ready for public presentations.
George, an eight-year-old male eagle, will take a bit longer to train, Hart said, but has made good progress and will now eat at his handler’s feet.
The raptors will be handled or be on display during educational presentations for the public this summer. Hart said two interns experienced in bird handling had arrived in Haines this week to help with presentations. Two local volunteers are in training to learn bird-handling techniques, he said.
The first presentation, to cruise ship visitors, is scheduled for May 19.
Hart said the foundation was working to set a date for an event to showcase the birds to the community.
McRoberts said the foundation recently was approved to receive a fourth bird, a great horned owl, from the Juneau Raptor Center.
Donations of fish to the center are welcomed, Hart said, as George consumes about three-quarters of a pound per day. The other raptors consume the meat of quails or other small mammals.