Samak a two year old female golden eagle was released from North Ogden Divide on Sunday August 30th in front of a small crowd of WRC Founding Membership holders and volunteers. A very large eagle now weighing around 13 pounds with a wingspan of almost 7-1/2 feet (88 inches from tip-to-tip) came to WRC last fall with avian pox, a virus deadly to wild birds if not given medical attention. She had gotten so weak that she was emaciated and unable to fly. After a long recovery period from pox, Samak was transported to a rehab center in Springville to allow her to strengthen her flight muscles in their flight cage. Just about the time Samak would have been ready for release she met another setback when she mysteriously wedged herself between the flight cage wall and a perch breaking her right wing ulna bone. This new problem required an internal pin to stabilize the bone, but thankfully ended in success.
For DaLyn Erickson, Wildlife Specialist and Executive Director of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, this day was special in more ways than one. Not only was she releasing a strong healthy young eagle back into the Utah wilds after nursing it back from near death, but she was doing so on her birthday! DaLyn gave the large eagle a “light toss” from the side of the road of North Ogden Divide toward the town of Liberty Utah. Samak started in a bee line toward Liberty and then quickly took a sharp left turn landing near the road just down from the crowd. She seemed to gather her bearings before again lifting off on her own and erasing any concern for her successful release. The crowd lost her for several minutes before sighting her high in the thermals east of Ben Lomond Peak.
WRC has received several credible “Samak sightings” high in the thermals over the mountain range. She was a very high spirited and vocal youngster with the distinctive plumage of a two-year-old golden eagle. We are comforted that sightings of a golden youngster flying high and screaming “this is my territory” are very likely our Samak. Happy hunting girl!