Bald eagle released into wild after year long rehab in Sevier Co

Bald eagle released into wild after year long rehab in Sevier County

Posted:
A bald eagle was finally released back into the wild Thursday after a year of rehab. A bald eagle was finally released back into the wild Thursday after a year of rehab.
The eagle was knocked out of its nest by a severe storm last June near the Sevierville Kroger on Winfield Dunn Parkway. The eagle was knocked out of its nest by a severe storm last June near the Sevierville Kroger on Winfield Dunn Parkway.
Now with the strength to fly on his own, Winfield was released back into the wild at Douglas Lake. Now with the strength to fly on his own, Winfield was released back into the wild at Douglas Lake.
By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) - A bald eagle was finally released back into the wild Thursday after a year of rehab.

The eagle was knocked out of its nest by a severe storm last June near the Sevierville Kroger on Winfield Dunn Parkway.

Winfield the eagle, named after the street he was found on, was just six weeks old when it happened.

"Initially they had to be treated for whatever injuries, and in this case this bird had feathers broken and had to be watched closely at first," said Founder and President of the American Eagle Foundation, Al Cecere.

Volunteers with the foundation monitored him daily until his tail feathers grew back. Then he was put in a flight cage where he would build the strength to fly.

"It's about 150 feet long by 20 feet wide, and they just get to fly back and forth, and that's the final stage of all of our rehab birds," said Cecere.

Now with the strength to fly on his own, Winfield was released back into the wild at Douglas Lake.

It was a particularly special moment for volunteer John Prickett. Prickett had been monitoring and photographing Winfield's nest for two years and was the first to notice it was blown down.

"When I saw it was down I immediately called Al and he brought a couple of staff with him and we found the birds under the tree," said Prickett.

Prickett called the release emotional.

"Yeah, it's pretty cool."

Prickett's picture's also captured an identifying tag proving Winfield's mother was one of the foundation's previous releases.

"It's kind of exciting to know out of the hundreds of eaglets we've released we've finally been able to identify one of them nesting here, and I'm sure there are others in the woods around here, but we haven't been able to identify those," said Cecere.

Now they hope Winfield will also return to these trees around Douglas Lake when it's time for him to choose a nest location and help continue to grow the bald eagle population in East Tennessee.

The storm knocked another eagle out of the same nest, but its injuries were too severe for him to be released back into the wild. Handlers named him Abraham. He is now being used to teach others about eagles.

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