Eagle rescued in Clearwater to be released Tuesday

Photo provided by Clearwater Police Department
Photo provided by Clearwater Police Department

The American bald eagle that was struck and injured by a car in Clearwater nearly two months ago has been rehabilitated and will be released back into the wild on Tuesday.

Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Nature World Wildlife teamed up to help the eagle recover after the Oct. 5 incident, which occurred on Countryside Boulevard adjacent to Westfield Countryside Mall.

The eagle was struck by a car while trying to dine on the remains of a dead animal in the middle of the northbound lanes. Clearwater Fire & Rescue firefighters, along with Clearwater Police personnel, arrived and protected the bird until rescue workers from Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife could get on scene.

Police and firefighters helped wildlife rescuer Susan Miller corral the injured bird. It was taken to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, where Dr. Peter Black performed surgery on its injured right wing. The eagle began flying at Busch Gardens, then was tested with additional flight at Nature World Wildlife with the help of Mary Opal, director for that agency.

“Tuesday will be an exciting day as we release this majestic bird, the symbol of our nation, back to the wild,” said Kris Porter of Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife. “It would not have been possible without the collaboration and teamwork from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Nature World Wildlife and so many others.”

The eagle cannot be released at the original site where it was found because of overhead power lines and adjacent high-volume traffic. It will be released instead at nearby Lake Chautauqua Park, which is located about five minutes away.

The release time is set for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

It is hoped that some of those involved in the original rescue, including police officers and firefighters, will be on hand to watch the release of the eagle.

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