Thursday, July 28, 2011

Berkeley Plantation - Release of Five Eagles

by Donna L. Watkins

We had a very exciting day last week when we made the drive to witness five (5) eagles being released at the Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia.  

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Eagle Release at Berkeley Plantation
When we were told that the public was invited to the release of the three eaglets that lost their mother when an airplane hit it, we couldn't resist.  Although it was a two-hour drive each way on a hot day, we knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

Originally we only thought they were releasing the three, but we arrived to find out there would be five, which was also a first for The Wildlife Center's 30-year history, so a very special event in that way also.

We have been members of The Wildlife Center of Virginia since we moved here.  They have raptor releases quite often but never nearby and, of course, not always with invitations to the public.  We had been involved with a wildlife rehabilitation center when we lived in Alabama and had seen a Red-tailed Hawk release, but eagles are so majestic, they just give me the chills.

We arrived an hour early so we could stroll the grounds of the plantation, only to find a lot of others had done the same.  We weren't interested in touring the house since we wanted to see any of the gardens that were accessible to us.  After enjoying the field of huge sunflowers and zinnia garden filled with butterflies and a hummingbird moth, we strolled through shaded allees of boxwoods that seemed to speak of ancient times under huge oak trees.

Finally, we settled into the lawn area where the release was to take place.  We had a blanket so we put it under a tree on the shaded side of the lawn so I could go back and forth to photograph each speaker and each eagle release. The experience was a grand one, even though there was a sad note in that the fourth release came back down in a nearby area.

I tell the story in the captions of the photographs.  View photos and story of this grand experience at Berkeley Plantation.

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