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Eagle rescued, healed and released

By Adriana Fehrs

Steph Gillin, Wildlife Biologist for CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation, holds the rescued bald eagle. Back in December the injured bird was spotted in a field in Ronan; CSKT was contacted, and wildlife biologists arrived shortly to capture the bird. (Photo courtesy of CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation) Steph Gillin, Wildlife Biologist for CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation, holds the rescued bald eagle. Back in December the injured bird was spotted in a field in Ronan; CSKT was contacted, and wildlife biologists arrived shortly to capture the bird. (Photo courtesy of CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation)

RONAN — After three months in a rehabilitation center, a bald eagle captured by CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation, was finally released back into the wild on Friday March 14.

Back in December of 2013, CSKT Fish and Game received a call that a bald eagle had been spotted in a field in Ronan. The bird seemed feisty but had an apparent injury that inhibited it from flying.

Fish and Game tracked down the bald eagle, and then shortly contacted CSKT Wildlife Biologists Steph Gillin, Shannon Clairmont, and Wildlife Technician Austin Moran. Gillin, Wildlife Biologist for the CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation, was one of the first to show up. “The bald eagle still had a lot of fight left in him. He was hopping all around and it took all three of us to capture him,” says Gillin.

The Wild Wings Recovery Center and CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation partnered together to rehabilitate an injured bald eagle, captured in Ronan in December. Together, they released the recovered bald eagle on March 14. (Photo courtesy of Cathie Tyler, Polson Animal Clinic) The Wild Wings Recovery Center and CSKT Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation partnered together to rehabilitate an injured bald eagle, captured in Ronan in December. Together, they released the recovered bald eagle on March 14. (Photo courtesy of Cathie Tyler, Polson Animal Clinic)

Once the bald eagle was captured the CSKT brought the injured bird to see Lowell Tyler, Veterinary Technician and co-owner of the Polson Animal Clinic, and wife Cathie Tyler, co-owner of the Polson Animal Clinic. Gillin says, “It’s almost like [the bald eagle] knew we were helping him, and he seemed relieved.” After x-rays were taken, Lowell found that the bird had a broken ulna in its wing. They then immediately referred them to a rehabilitation center.

The bald eagle captured by CSKT wildlife biologists Steph Gillin, Shannon Clairmont, and Wildlife Technician Austin Moran, takes its first flight to freedom after spending months in recovery at the Wild Wings Recovery Center in Kalispell. The bird was released in Ronan on March 14. (Photo courtesy of Cathie Tyler, Polson Animal Clinic) The bald eagle captured by CSKT wildlife biologists Steph Gillin, Shannon Clairmont, and Wildlife Technician Austin Moran, takes its first flight to freedom after spending months in recovery at the Wild Wings Recovery Center in Kalispell. The bird was released in Ronan on March 14. (Photo courtesy of Cathie Tyler, Polson Animal Clinic)

Cathie Tyler made the connection to the Montana Wild Wings Recovery Center in Kalispell, where they brought the bald eagle. At the recovery center, the bird received antibiotics and was housed until the bone was completely healed. “They were really amazing, a big shout out goes to them for helping us out. We are definitely thankful for them,” says Gillin.

On Friday March 14 the CSKT Wildlife Management Program released the bald eagle in Ronan, less than a mile away from where it had first been caught. Gillin says, “It was an amazing experience, we don’t get to do this kind of thing a lot.”

For more information, or to make a donation to the Montana Wild Wings Recovery Center in Kalispell, a nonprofit organization, call (406) 250-1070 or (406) 249-7800. Visit their website at www.wildwingsrecovery.org.

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