GRANTS PASS, OR. – Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center in Grants Pass, Oregon released a six-month old bald eagle, named Starbuck, back into the wild on Wednesday, October 29th at 1:30pm at the Blue Creek Boat Launch on the Cowlitz River near Olympia, Washington.
Starbuck (intake #14-0146) arrived at Wildlife Images on April 27th, 2014 when the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) asked if Wildlife Images resident bald eagles could foster the eaglet. (Starbuck weighed just 2 pounds upon arrival) “This eaglet presented a new set of challenges for us,” stated Dave Siddon, Executive Director of the center, “and we are thrilled to have developed a whole new skill set that we can apply to future cases.”
Wildlife Images Animal Care staff worked tirelessly to stabilize baby Starbuck (named after the renowned coffee company from the same state as the eaglet) by regulating its temperature and increasing its ability to accept food before presenting it to the foster parents. Special attention was paid to preparing an outdoor enclosure for the fostering process, complete with visual barriers and a full size nest for the eaglet. Cameras were installed to monitor the bonding process. Resident bald eagles, Squeaky and Haggis were moved into the enclosure prior to the introduction of Starbuck to his new foster parents which was accomplished during a lengthy introduction process.
Success was celebrated by the staff when the foster parents were observed feeding Starbuck to abundance. Starbuck has been protected, fed and nurtured for nearly 6 months with a couple of months where standing became an issue because of an iron deficiency. Now nearly 11 pounds, Starbuck is fully-grown and ready to be released.
Wildlife Images has worked closely with state and federal agencies to determine the appropriate location for Starbuck’s release, making sure that the release will take place close to where the eaglet was found. “We are overjoyed that this beautiful animal will get another chance at life in the wild, and are honored we were able to lend a helping hand.” said Tracy Higgs, Animal Care Team Leader. “Starbuck’s difficult start in life and series of adventures thereafter will make this release one of our most memorable. It has been an honor serving an animal like Starbuck, we are humbled by this experience.”
Media, including KING 5 News from Seattle, attended the release and stories of the inspiring release aired in Portland, Eugene, Southern Oregon, even Missouri and Connecticut! The popular animal blog, The Dodo, also ran the story. Read their story HERE.
Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center is a non-profit 501 (3) (c) corporation established in 1981. Providing care and treatment for sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, while giving the public an opportunity to experience wildlife first-hand. Wildlife Images receives and cares for over 1,000 animals every year at no charge to individuals or organizations. There are over 80 resident animal ambassadors currently at the center including; grizzly bears, black bears, bobcats, cougars, badgers, wolves and otters. Wildlife Images offers extensive educational programs for the public through onsite activities as well as educational outreach. For more information memberships, adoptions, internships, or educational programs call 541.476.0222. Watch the entire experience HERE!