Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mooseheart Eagles ... First Flight Toward Their New Home

 Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation President and Founder Dawn Keller 
prepares a Mooseheart Eagle for it's new journey back into the world
on Saturday November 12, 2011 at Starved Rock State Park, Utica IL.

Two young eagles became temporary residents at Flint Creek Rehabilitation Center
after their nest was destroyed in a storm several months ago. They were ready
to be set free. The chosen destination was Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois.
Eagles winter here every year along the Illinois River. A good time to view them again
may be this winter when the river freezes and eagles fish close to the dam. A long
 viewing deck is available at the The Illinois Waterway Visitor Center which is located
 on Dee Bennett Road, across the Illinois River from Starved Rock State Park.

 Dawn showed loving care and tenderness as she
prepared the eagle for it's first flight.

At this point the crowd was silent, it seemed as if everyone was holding their breathe.
As our anticipation grew so did our smiles followed by our whispers and awes.

One last look before departure.

And .... Free!!!!

The crowd roared!
The sound of camera shutters clicked by the thousands! 

All of us wishing we were these lucky photographers.

The first eagle flew straight for the photographers on the beach then straight
toward the crowd before flying down the river as if it was choreographed.

He was beautiful!

A memorable sight that sent sighs of delight through the crowd.

The first eagle landed on a few branches and then went toward the ground
before the crowd turned to pay attention to the second eagle about to fly.

The second eagle did not practice the toward the crowd choreography as well 
as his brother did. He started out toward the photographers on the beach for 
just a moment before making a u-turn  away from the river, away from the crowd, 
toward the tree line and quickly out of sight. This time the sighs from the crowd 
changed to a gasp and just a moment of silence before the roar of applause.

After the crowds faded this eagle was barely seen camouflaged
above the rooted area of this small tree. The small crowd that 
viewed it all felt it was the first eagle. It was right about where
the first eagle landed after taking it's first flight along the Illinois River.
We will all have these brave young eagles in our thoughts and prayers
as they begin to discover, learn about and live in this big beautiful world.

For more information about Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation visit : 

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  1. What a heartwarming & uplifting post! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh my goodness, what a glorious post! Debbie, how lucky your were to observe and photograph this memorable release. My eyes teared while viewing your wonderful post. My fingers are crossed that these two eagles will thrive in their new habitat. Beautiful!

  3. What a lovely post! Great story, wonderful photos. So happy you could be there and share this with us!!

  4. Thank you Cindy, Julie and Linda. It was amazing! This winter it will be interesting to see if we can find them in the mix of eagles fishing by the dam. I hope so!

  5. Fabulous post, Debbie!! How super to see and capture them taking off!

  6. Thanks so much Cindy, a memorable first flight!

  7. Really great thing that these Mooseheart Eagles are left to live on their own not kept in some cage or something.
    I haven't seen a Mooseheart Eagle in my life but they sure are amazing birds

  8. They are huge!! Great work here... :)

    Angad Achappa

  9. ...whoa! Really interesting post....gorgeous birds...