Bald eagle released back into the wild

VENETA, Ore. - A bald eagle took flight over Fern Ridge Reservoir on Thursday, two weeks after the bird was found fighting for its life with another of its kind.

"He had seen these two eagles, locked on the ground," Louise Shimmel of the Cascades Raptor Center said of the man who found the bird. "So he came back, he called us, by the time we could get there they were still locked together - it had been over two hours!"

Shimmel founded the raptor center 23 years ago and has helped thousands of birds during that time.

She knows a thing or two about wildlife rehabilitation: being released after only two weeks gives the eagle a better chance of survival.

"You don't want to hold them too long where then you have to recondition them for a while," she explained.

How rare is it to find an injured bald eagle? The raptor center has helped 2 so far this year.

Shimmel doesn't expect too many more this season.

"What we call a floater, looking for a place, it's unusual for them to do this so late in the year, when the birds are already nesting," she said.

The eagle's departure was swift. The longest part of the day was figuring out the best way to release the eagle so it could find a perch and scout out a new home.

"We just want her someplace where she's not going to get into any trouble," Shimmel said.