Fly like an eagle

Kristin Rolfe from Washington State University watches Ramsey the bald eagle fly back into the wild at Quincy’s East Park on May 17.

QUINCY — It took only a second or two for Ramsey the bald eagle to exit a large travel crate and then fly to a nearby tree in Quincy’s Aquatic Center. Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine had cared for the bird and returned it to the wild on May 17.

Kristin Rolfe, an assistant vet tech from WSU, said the bald eagle had been found down, unable to fly, in Quincy last August. Rolfe said a citizen found it but did not name the person.

The bald eagle was given to WSU and was found to be severely emaciated. Tests did not find injuries or illness to explain the bird’s condition, and Rolfe said it was unknown why the eagle was emaciated. They named the bird Ramsey.

The eagle was given fluid therapy and food, then it molted, or shed its feathers. That meant WSU had to keep the bird longer to give it time to grow its feathers back.

Rolfe estimated its current weight at 10 pounds.

“She’s a big, healthy girl now,” Rolfe said.

WSU estimated Ramsey is 2 years old. As a young adult bald eagle, her head feathers are not yet white.

Federal rules concerning protected species, such as bald eagles, according to WSU, require they be released to the wild where they were found or close by. Quincy’s East Park was chosen for the release because it is the biggest park with trees and a water source, Rolfe said.

With the large travel cage set down in the softball field across from Washington Tractor, Rolfe paused to make sure the dozen or so attendees stayed a safe distance away. Then Rolfe opened the cage door, facing south, and Ramsey was out in a flash and flying.

The bald eagle flew directly to the trees near the gazebo in the city’s Aquatic Center, where it disturbed some crows.

Rolfe said the bald eagle may hang around Quincy for a while to get oriented to the wild again.