Baby Eagle Flies Free

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When most of us think of Tampa, Florida, we envision the urban life of a thriving port city. However, there are also several wildlife preserves and nature parks bordering the outskirts of Tampa. Mike Parks, Field Operations Manager at Coast 2 Coast, lives just in between. Eagles are a common sight in his community and the neighborhood alligator is named Billy. Needless to say, that while Mike enjoys the wildness of the area, he is mindful to bring along his Rottweiler, Optimus Prime, for morning strolls.

Recently during their morning walk, Mike and Optimus Prime encountered a baby Bald Eagle in the middle of the road. As they rounded the curve, the eagle just hopped out of the way and into the woods instead of flying off. Seeing the bird was injured and knowing there were gators nearby prompted Mike to call the closest wildlife sanctuary.

The Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife soon sent Tina and Nick as their rescue team. They were quick to arrive and capture the young bald eagle. After getting the eagle back to the sanctuary and assessing her injuries, it was determined that she would go to the Busch Gardens facility for her treatment and then to the Seaside Seabird Sanctuary for rehabilitation and flying practice. Once the eagle was deemed ready for release, the Owl’s Nest team brought her back to the area where she was found to be released.

Fun Fact: Bald Eagles do not get their white heads until around 4 years old.

This bald eagle was less than three years old with a wingspan of 3 feet.

Coast 2 Coast community service - Eagle Rescue

Billy misses out on lunch due to alert photographer Michael Valdes.

Mike explained, “I’m glad we encountered the eagle and were able to get help quickly. With Billy and other alligators around, this could have wound up with a much graver outcome. My friend saved this bird’s sister from Billy just a few days prior and got a tremendous photograph as his reward. At the end of the day, I am just grateful for our area wildlife sanctuaries and the work they do. I love where I live. Thankful that they invited me back to be part of the release celebration.”

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