The Wildlife Center of Virginia released a six-month-old bald eagle at on Wednesday. The unnamed female eagle has spent the past two months gaining strength in a large flight cage, and learned to fight for its own food against other eagles, which prepared it for a more natural environment.
The eagle, which has a seven-foot wingspan, was found weak and dehydrated in a field at Bolling Air Force Base on May 25.
"She may have just left her nest too early, or she could have been blown out by a large storm," said Ed Clark, co-founder of the Wildlife Center of Virginia. "There are so many other eagles here with her to associate, which is why we bring them to Mason Neck State Park."
The park is home to the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge - a sanctuary for bald eagles. Hartwell was a conservationist and longtime resident of Mason Neck.
"I always get excited when I see an eagle," said Rob Hartwell, who hosts the annual Eagle Festival at the park. "Mom told me she was going to be reincarnated as an eagle, so this could have been her being set free today."
This eagle is among 24 treated by the center since the beginning of the year, and one of two bald eagles that will be released this week. On Thursday, another bald eagle will be released at Berkley Plantation near Richmond.