Bald eagle, healed in Cheney after injury, flies again Monday

Updated: Mar. 27, 2022 at 8:10 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A bald eagle is about ready to take off again about three months after it was found badly injured near Medicine Lodge. Since then, a local non-profit took the eagle under its ... wing.

The eagle was in pretty bad shape when it was brought to Eagle Valley Raptor Center near Cheney. The center specializes in rehabilitating large birds that are not able to survive in the wild -- and staff say they were glad to help another one.

“He had a pretty big gash on his leg,” Eagle Valley Raptor Center director Ken Lockwood said. “He had a broken primary feather on his left wing and had an eye injury -- and he was kind of thin.”

Lockwood said that once they received the bald eagle and began to treat him, the process to get it back to its natural habitat began.

“We make them fly back and forth because you have to strengthen their chest muscles,” Lockwood said. “Because the muscles (are) what flaps the wins. They’re a big bird. He’s about a 12-pound bird; he’s heavy, so he’s got to have strong wing muscles.”

The rehab process included giving the bird a makeshift feather while its damaged one grew back.

“We had to give him a new feather until he was able to molt it out and then fly again naturally without a broken feather,” Lockwood said. “We take the other feather, which is also hollow in the quill, and we put glue on it and we slide it in like that.”

Lockwood said that although he’s enjoyed having the eagle around, he’s excited to release it back into nature.

If you’d like to watch the bird be released, it’s happening Monday at Herman Hill Park, near the Arkansas River in Wichita.

“When you let one of the birds go and seven feet of wings open up and fly away, it’s a pretty neat feeling,” Lockwood said. “It really is.”

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