WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A bald eagle was released back into the wild in front of a crowd of spectators Monday at Wichita’s Herman Hill Park.
The eagle was found wounded three months ago near Medicine Lodge. It had an eye injury, a gash on its leg, and a broken feather on its main wing.
Ken Lockwood, Eagle Valley Raptor Center rehabilitator, said the bird was really thin and hadn’t been eating when it was brought in.
“The first place they lose weight is their chest. When their chest muscles are real thin, they can’t flap their wings, ’cause the chest muscles is what flaps their wings.”
Lockwood said they worked to feed the bird and care for the wound. They also had to repair a major flight feather on the bird’s left-wing, called imping.
“We took another feather that had molted out of another bird that had the same feather, and the quills are hollow. What we did was took a toothpick and put glue on it and slid it inside the quill that was in the body and took the other feather and slid it on the other end of the toothpick, and glued it together. It gave it a very strong feather.”
Lockwood said the eagle became stronger after the wing repair. They put it into a flight pen, where it regained strength.
“We would chase it back and forth every day and make it fly, and basically, it was like running sprints,” he said. “When you get something that is injured or near death and when you throw it up in the air, and six feet of wings open up, it is a pretty cool feeling.”