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The Crossroads Journal

Golden Eagle Released in EM

By Mike Kieffer
EAGLE MOUNTAIN -- Second Chance, a wildlife rescue, that specializes in birds of prey, released a Golden Eagle back into the wild in the Eagle Mountain Area on September 5th.

Debbie Souza-Pappas, founder and director of Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation of Price Utah, said that the total cost was around $500 for medical supplies and food to rehabilitate the Golden Eagle. But, if you take into consideration the time spent, the total cost would be closer to $5,500 for rehabilitation.

This Golden Eagle was not injured but was down due to the fact it was a young bird, and inexperienced with life and what that requires for a bird of prey. Someone spotted the downed bird and notified the Division of Wildlife of the situation. They were able to find the bird and rescue it.

Because of the heat, the bird was dehydrated and thin when it was delivered to Second Chance. Souza-Pappas said, "Unlike most of the cases, he did not require surgery, just time and supportive care, which means fluids, rest and food. When he became strong enough, he was put in an enclosure with other Golden Eagles in our care. Some, with the same issues. He became stronger and eventually learned to kill one source of food, rabbits. This process, the 'kill-testing", lasted about 2 1/2 weeks. We then had to make the decision where to release him and who got the honors of the release."

As Debbie mentioned, the Eagles need to learn to kill a source of local food before they could be released. Eagle Mountain residents helped and donated enough rabbits for the kill-testing process. These kill-tests allow the Golden Eagle to recognize rabbits as a food source, and how to hunt them. This step is vital to the rehabilitation of these beautiful birds.

Shon Reed was then contacted by Debbie to find an Eagle Mountain resident to help return this majestic bird back into the wild in the Cedar Valley. Reed has helped Second Chance several times in the past with birds released in the Eagle Mountain area. Eagle Mountain has been identified as a prime recovery habitat for small and large birds of prey. This Golden Eagle was in the care of Second Chance for just short of two months before it was strong enough to be released back into the wild.

The Golden Eagle was released to the wild by Eagle Mountain resident and veteran Jeremy Evans. Evans is a father of four and a fifteen year resident of Eagle Mountain. He served in the military for 11 years, including time in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. He was also part of the Olympic Security Force and spent time in Panama, Japan, and most of the 50 states. He is the recipient of the Purple Heart for injuries to his leg during his service. He is a patriotic American, that may be in part because of his birthday. Evans was born July 4th, 1976, during the countries bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Deceleration of Independence. He is also a local Eagle Mountain business owner and owns the 1976 CrossFit located in Eagle Mountain. He has owned the gym for the last three and a half years of its five years in Eagle Mountain.

There were 20 to 25 avid birders and residents of Eagle Mountain at the location when the bird was released. They were able to witness this powerful bird returned to the wild. The bird was released in the Soldier Pass area, south of Eagle Mountain off of Lake Mountain Road. Jeff and Wendy Peterson, Eagle Mountain residents were able to watch as the Golden Eagle was released back into the wild.

Jeff had this to say about the experience, "Seeing a raptor that has been injured and then released back into the wild is incredible! It is not often that an average person gets to see a golden eagle within a few feet! The size of the bird and their talons! It is truly remarkable!"

Wendy said, "It was an honor to see such an amazing turn of events and be there for the release of the Golden Eagle here in Eagle Mountain. Just knowing that someone has such a love for wildlife, willing to care for the sick/injured while bringing them back to health and then releasing them into their natural environment is amazing. Thank you to all involved!"

Eagle Mountain is also home to a very active American Kestrel population. The Eagle Mountain Kestrel project monitors 24 Kestrel boxes located throughout Eagle Mountain. They were able to monitor 62 nestlings during the last breeding season.
The community news source for Eagle Mountain Utah, Saratoga Springs Utah, Lehi Utah, American Fork Utah, Highland Utah, Alpine Utah, and The Cedar Valley, including Cedar Fort Utah and Fairfield Utah. Copyright 2018 The Crossroads Journal LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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