DEER PARK TOWNSHIP, Ill. (CBS) — The two bald eaglets rescued and raised in captivity after a springtime storm tore down their nest in Kane County are now creatures of the wild.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports, the eaglets were released Saturday at Starved Rock State Park.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports
As a few hundred watched from one side of the Illinois River, Dawn Keller, founder of Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, was on Plum Island – releasing the two eaglets.
“Each one wanted to go right away,” Keller said. “It was very easy. I was just able to open my grip upon its legs and it flew away.
The crowd watched as the eaglets took off.
“The first one, as you saw, circled over the crowd; did a great flyby for the audience, which was fantastic. And then the second one, I think, also flew very strong but flew a little different direction,” she said.
Joan Capponi of Peru, Ill., was one of hundreds of people who watched.
“I sure there were some tears on the other side,” she said.
The bald eaglets hatched on the grounds of the Mooseheart Children’s Home in Kane County, and survived a storm that tossed them from their nest about 80 feet up. But the eaglets’ parents rejected the new nest and stopped feeding them in the new place.
Keller said while the eaglets’ departure may have been sad, it was necessary.
“I’m always happy to see the animals go,” she said. “I think a lot of people think that I must be sad to see them go, but actually this is always the goal we’re working towards.”
Keller says the eaglets, both male, will probably go in different directions from now on, since most birds of prey are solitary.