November 15, 2012 | Volume 42, No. 46

Toe foils eagle release

Hopes for an eagle release at this year’s Alaska Bald Eagle Festival were dashed by an infected toe.

Cheryl McRoberts, director of operations for the American Bald Eagle Foundation, said festival organizers were hoping to release “Donald,” an injured eagle from Haines, at Klukwan Saturday, but veterinarians report the toe infection is serious and may require amputation.

“Danielle,” another eagle from Haines, also is not ready for release, due to a drooped wing that requires more rest.

Eagle releases are becoming rarer at the festival, in part because they’ve become popular elsewhere in the state, limiting the number of birds available to be set free here, McRoberts said.

Having a raptor hospital in Haines might help provide birds for release, McRoberts said. That’s an eagle foundation goal, but would require a resident raptor veterinarian, she said.