EAST LANSING, Mich. — Seven bald eagles have been taken into the Wildside Rehabilitation Center in just under four months, tripling the volunteer-run center's yearly injured eagle intake.
From broken bones, to a West Nile virus scare, the eagles that Wildside has taken in have been through it all, and it's the center's goal is not just to release these birds, but to return them to their home.
"This is Pride, she came from Williamston," Louise Sagaert, director of Wildside Rehabilitation and Education Center said.
Pride is making noise with Justice, a 26-year-old bald eagle and the younger eagle named Mission.
"We are seeing more of them and people are just so excited to seem them, and that's why we are seeing more because there are more of them out there," Sagaert said.
Although Sagaert hasn't had to turn an eagle away yet, she says it's been a stressful summer.
"We are concerned always about space, we are small. We are only about 800 square feet so we have made a lot of adjustments. I did start to get nervous when we got two eagles in one day, but we have been able to make it all work," Sagaert said.
Pride and Mission are on their way to recovery, however, the two eagles found in Eaton Rapids couldn't be saved.
"It was extremely hard to humanly euthanize an eagle after you put a lot of time and energy in and realize there is nothing else you can do," Sagaert said.
Now, efforts are underway to build a 100-yard flight cage behind the center to help the eagles build up their strength to be released.
"They need a lot more expanse to exercise their wings, to be able to land perfectly on perches that are moving," Sagaert said.
Without the cage, Wildside would have to send the eagles to an up north center where there's a chance they wouldn't be released to their mid-Michigan home.
"They have a place where they know they are hunting, how to hunt what, they obviously need water so this area is perfect for them," Sagaert said.
The goal is to raise $25,000 to begin to build the cage and the community is doing their part by creating multiple fundraisers for the cause.
This Thursday, the Village of Springport is hosting a cruise in to Onondaga starting at 4:30 p.m. A link to the event can be found here.
A gofundme has also been started for Justice and Mission, which can be found here.
Eaton Rapids resident, Tamara Noe, is hosting an Avon fundraiser where 100% profits will be going to the flight cage, which can be found here.
"All the communities tend to come together and I think it's great with the community support how they take you in is just amazing," said Noe, an Independent Avon Representative.
Later on this month, money from a performance of the 12 Incompetent Jurors by the Generations Community Theatre will also go toward the cage.
The center said it hopes to build the flight cage before a harsh winter hits. If the cage isn't finished by spring, the eagles would have to be sent to another flight cage up north.
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