Bald eagle from Slave Lake soars after months of rehab in Edmonton

A bald eagle found with a broken leg and damaged wing in the Slave Lake area in August was released at Lake Wabamun Thursday after months of rehabilitation.

'I'm here to give her freedom. She's going to soar'

Donna Lamb holds eagle before releasing it back into the wild near Lake Wabaman.

When Donna Lamb talks about bald eagles you get the sense right away, she truly loves the large birds of prey.

So, in August when a friend of hers in Slave Lake found an eagle that had apparently been injured after flying into a power line, he called her right away.

"He found it in his yard. I went to his place. He had it in his garage," said Lamb, who realized the female bald eagle was in bad shape.

"I was pretty well ready to black out, because I'd never really been that close to an eagle myself, seen them many of times but no, it was shocking and to get it to Edmonton was my main concern."
The eagle lies on the operating table. A pin was placed in its leg to fix a fracture in the left femur. (Wildlife Rehabilitation Society)

The next day she put the eagle in a crate and drove it to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton where veterinarians put a pin in the eagle's leg to fix the fracture in its left femur. 

After that it was nearly three months of rehabilitation.

"It had a little bit of an infection, but after about a month of medication and the pin was taken out, and it was stable, she started flying and was doing absolutely fine,"  said Elizabeth Malta, animal care manager.

After showing signs of being back on her feet, the time came to release the eagle back into the wild.
The eagle required nearly three months at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre to fully heal. (Wildlife Rehabilitation Society)

Lamb was offered the opportunity to release her, a moment she says she'll never forget. 

"I got to hold her earlier at the rehab, and I'm here today to give her freedom," Lamb said. "She's going to soar, she's going to go and she's going to produce more."

Lamb held the eagle moments before it hopped out of her hands and landed on the ground, before flying about a 100 metres and settling in a large tree. 

"She got her bearings, and then she did eventually fly off and it was a long distance so I was happy about that," said Malta.
The eagle makes the best of her temporary home. (Wildlife Rehabilitation Society)

"It wasn't very high, but she will get more conditioning out here which she will do on her own."

For Lamb the entire experience was surreal and emotional. 

"She hasn't had freedom since August," said Lamb who wiped away a few tears, before getting one last glimpse  through binoculars of the eagle she helped save.

The bald eagle finally takes flight near Lake Wabamun west of Edmonton Thursday. (Wildlife Rehabilitation Society)