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Atlantic Veterinary College to release bald eagles in P.E.I. on Oct. 13

Andrew Johnson of Port Williams used his snowmobile to bring this bald eagle back to his family’s farm after spotting it in the wild, and noticing it was unable to fly.
The Atlantic Veterinary College will release two rehabilitated juvenile bald eagles, similar to this one, on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Macphail Woods in Orwell. - SaltWire Network

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Two juvenile bald eagles will be released by the Atlantic Veterinary College’s Wildlife Service on Saturday.

The release will take place Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project in Orwell at 2 p.m. In case of inclement weather, the release will take place on Sunday, Oct. 14 at the same time and place.

Both eagles spent a month at AVC under the care of the college’s Wildlife Service before going to the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Nova Scotia for rehabilitation.

One eagle was found in a field in Orwell on June 19, unable to fly. The young eagle may have left the nest early because of strong winds. Students and staff built a nest in the flight cage where the bird spent its first few weeks eating and recovering from the ordeal. Eventually it left the nest and explored the perches in the enclosure. After a month, it was transported to the rehab centre.

The other young eagle was found on July 24 in North Bedeque with a stick protruding from either side of one of its wings.

The stick was removed by Dr. Peter Moak, small animal surgeon at AVC, and the bird was treated with antibiotics and pain medication. It is thought that the eagle maybe have been learning how to fly when it had a mishap, resulting in the stick being driven into its wing. After receiving medical care at AVC for a month, it also was taken to the rehab centre.

In releasing the two eagles, the AVC Wildlife Service is honouring the late Dr. Helene Van Doninck, AVC Class of 1991. During her veterinary career she dedicated her life to caring for injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. Van Doninck and her husband, Murdo Messer, established the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in 2001.

In addition to her remarkable record as a veterinarian, Van Doninck passed on her knowledge and expertise in the care of wildlife to AVC students.

In April 2018, she was presented with AVC’s Award of Excellence in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Care, and in July the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s Humane Award for her dedication to caring for wildlife.

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