Downed eagle gets its wings with Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care |

Downed eagle gets its wings with Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care

Dan Thrift

It’s not fight or flight, it’s a fight for flight.

An American bald eagle under the care of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care made its first attempt at flight last week in a meadow near Elks Club Road.

Brought in four months ago from Coleville after being grounded by three broken bones in the wrist area of its right wing, the eagle has undergone treatment to strengthen the damaged appendage. The bird now flies once a week until August when it will begin daily flights and, if all goes well, be released later that month.

With the help of volunteers, the eagle was carried to the meadow where its hood was removed. A 120-foot line attached to a weight was secured to its claws.

After a little readjustment, volunteer Wayne Hyllegard gave the bird a toss.

“I was very surprised,” said Tom Millham of LTWC of the bird’s first flight. With the initial help of Hyllegard, the eagle rose with a few strong strokes, flying a distance of 80 to 100 feet before landing.

Millham and Hyllegard retrieved the bird, walked back to the weight so the bird would have as much rope as possible, and repeated the process three more times.

After the initial examination four months ago the Millhams weren’t sure whether the eagle would be able to fly again, but after the test flight, Millham said he’s “very optimistic” about the full recovery of the bird and its release in late August.

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