VENICE — About a month after it was found by golfers injured at Pelican Point Golf Course, a fledgling eaglet was released by volunteers with The Paul A. & Veronica H. Gross Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida.
Venice Gondolier contributor Barbara Wagner DeJong witnessed the release on Tuesday.
A bald eagle nest was established in a tree along Hatchett Creek, near the Pelican Point Golf Course.
Two nestling eaglets were observed this spring, Wagner DeJong said, with both of them attempting first flights by March 24.
She said The Paul A. & Veronica H. Gross Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida received a call about an injured fledgling eagle on Pelican Point Golf Course, off Hatchett Creek Drive, in late March.
“The staffers responding to the call found the young bird, took it to the center and determined it had a broken leg,” Wagner DeJong wrote. “Such injuries are common in fledglings during the first few days of flight, with landings being particularly challenging to maneuver.”
The break requires surgery and recovery. It was recently “deemed healed sufficiently to be released back near the spot where it was found on the golf course.”
Wildlife Center of Venice volunteers Deb Murray, Jim Murray and Abby Polek brought the eagle back to the area it was found.
“For a few minutes, all golfing in the vicinity of the release was suspended, in order to safely allow the rehabilitated bird space to get its bearings and take flight,” Wagner DeJong wrote.
The eagle is estimated to be about 4 months old but already has an estimated 6-foot wingspan.
“Some tense moments followed as Abby opened the gate on the crate and the young eagle appeared hesitant to leave,” Wagner DeJong wrote.
It took about 10 minutes, along with some coaxing, before it emerged and lifted off.
“It tentatively took flight, slowly gaining altitude, gradually circling the area, then disappearing just out of sight in a grove of tall pines,” she wrote.