National Eagle Center welcomes new bald eagle
WABASHA — A new bald eagle is in training at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha to be used for the center's programs.
The center along the bank of the Mississippi River now has three bald eagles and a golden eagle in its viewing area and for programs. Its fifth eagle, Harriet, is 34 and has been allowed to retire.
On Dec. 1, Harriet's replacement came to the center. It's a juvenile bald that will go through several months of training before being used as part of the center's education program. Center workers regularly use live eagles in programs at the center and at events outside the center, such as presentations at schools.
The yet-to-be-named bird was found walking on a beach in August in Port Orchard, Wash. He had hatched just a few months before and only recently fledged, no longer relying on his parents for food, the center said.
Because of a malformation of his eye sockets, however, the eagle is unable to keep his eyes free of debris and infection. "When he was found, he had not eaten for several days and was unable to fly," the center said. "He had significant infection in and around his eyes, making it difficult for him to find food."
He was treated but because of the malformation, he is "non-releasable"and became available to the center.
The young eagle is covered in brown feathers, with slight white mottling on his breast, but in five years he will have the distinctive white head and tail of an adult bald eagle. "As he matures, his dark brown eyes will also lighten and his black beak will fade to become the bright yellow beak of an adult bald eagle," according to the center.
When he is trained well enough to be around people, he will join three bald eagles (Angel, Columbia and Was'aka) and one golden eagle (Donald) on exhibit at the center.