Rehabilitated bird released into wild at Fort Bragg
Officials with the Carolina Raptor Center release a bald eagle over Mott Lake Friday. The eagle, named Freedom, had been rehabilitated after suffering wing injuries from contact with an electrical wire. The release reiterates Fort Bragg's commitment to environmental stewardship and dedication to wildlife conservation on the installation.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Fort Bragg does not often get to see firsthand the benefits of the support it offers, through contributions from the Combined Federal Campaign of Southeastern North Carolina, to the Carolina Raptor Center.

However, post officials got to witness the fruit of their labor Friday when personnel from the CRC released a bald eagle at Mott Lake.

The eagle, named Freedom because it was first delivered to the CRC on Memorial Day and released so close to Veterans Day, had suffered wing injuries from contact with an electrical wire, said Michelle Houck, CRC's vice president of external affairs.

Being able to witness Freedom's release is a once-in-a-lifetime event, said Daniel Russell, director of the CFC of SNC.

The donations help support CRC's work and enable Fort Bragg to see something as majestic as an eagle's release into the wild.

But according to Dave Heins, chief of the Environmental Division, the release also accomplishes another goal - it helps improve wildlife and recovers some of the endangered species that are on the installation.

Mott Lake was chosen as the release site because other eagles have been seen foraging there and the area also offers a large expanse of forested landscape, said Jessie Schillaci, wildlife biologist with the Endangered Species Branch, Directorate of Public Works.

When Freedom was recovered, she bore a brood patch, an indicator that she had previously nested eaglets, and CRC personnel said they hope she will reconnect with her eaglets and mate.
Tiffany DuBois and her children; Anthony, 13, Brandon and Austin, 12, Donivan, 5, and Clarisa, 7 traveled from their home in Cameron, N.C. to see the release. The children's grandparents, Steve and Michelle DuBois also joined the Family, who learned about the eagle's release by e-mail.

"We thought this would be an exciting learning opportunity, a wonderful thing to see," Tiffany said.

"I like eagles and they are awesome; they are the symbol of America," Brandon said.

The CRC was started in 1975 at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, established to rehabilitate and restore wildlife to their natural habitats.

The center takes in about 20 eagles a year, with nearly a dozen of those being released back into the wild, said Joy Braunstein, president and CEO of CRC.

"It's really a fantastic thing to be able to take a bird that's so majestic and important to our country to release her back to health," Braunstein said.

Clarissa seemed enchanted with the release.
"That was awesome," she told her mother, after watching eagle spread her 7-foot wings.
For more information about the Combined Federal Campaign of Southeastern North Carolina, which supports eligible, non-profit organizations that provide health and human services worldwide, visit the CFC website at www.senccfc.org or call Russell at 396-3660. For more information about the Carolina Raptor Center's dedication to bird conservation, visit its website at carolinaraptorcenter.org.

Information about Fort Bragg's Endangered Species Branch can be obtained by visiting www.bragg.army.mil/esb. Information about its Environmental Division can be obtained at www.bragg.army.mil/envdiv.

Page last updated Fri November 12th, 2010 at 11:25