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photo by Brian Faux

20230327-Bald Eagle-1

Admission Date
Rescue Location
Middlebury, Elkhart County, Indiana
Cause of Admission
Fracture of coracoid

Middlebury Eagle Release 7-15-23.  A big thank you to our volunteers who nursed this eagle back to health so he could be released!! 


The release of “Middlebury”, the Bald Eagle, was a fantastic success.  There was some concern about Middlebury’s release because of the rain. However, as we neared the site of the event, the clouds receded and were replaced with sun and beautiful clear blue skies. At the entrance to Singing Hills Retreat , northwest of Middlebury, we were met by the Amish manager, Paul.

A short ¼ mile drive through a lovely wooded area brought us to a large expanse of rolling green meadow in a valley surrounded by beautiful forest. We set up for release, uphill on the west end of the meadow. Soon we were joined by over 12 Amish families, adults with kids and arm-held infants, plus a
few neighboring “English” folks, adding up to at least 50 people. We introduced ourselves, Soarin Hawk and the story of “Middlebury”. As soon as we were sure everyone was present, Paul led everybody in the hymn “On Eagle Wings”. 

With great anticipation, I opened the crate. Middlebury stood still and stared out for a few moments, then walked to the door , leaned forward…. and launched! Since we were slightly uphill, he flew down across the meadow, slowly gaining altitude, and about 50 yards away started strong wing strokes, climbing over 100 feet. About 150 yards away he was at tree top level and veered into the top of a tree to roost. Everyone was ecstatic, but we still watched the forest where he had entered hoping for more action. Some folks even walked toward the area where he had landed.

After a few moments we were rewarded when suddenly he emerged over the east end of the meadow flying high and strong in a circle before continuing his flight deeper into the forest, disappearing for good. He was home. A really great release! We stayed another ½ hour answering questions about
Soarin’ Hawk , raptors and birdwatching.

Our crew was also given a treat of ice cold spring water and popsicles before leaving, knowing that these folks will be looking after Middlebury.

Soarin’ Hawk folks: Brian Faux , Cheryl Mudrack, Ann Walton, Bob Walton

Release photo by Brian Faux


When a call comes in to rescue a Bald Eagle, one thing is certain, it will be a rescue to remember. This bird was at a small farm West of Middlebury, IN.  This location was about a 1 ½ hour drive so I had lots of time to imagine lots of scenarios.     On arrival I found an adult Eagle upright and alert about 10 yards from a wetland.  As I approached the bird it immediately walked toward the water, hopped in and flapped its wings like oars to a large floating log that it perched on.  I tried to go around the eagle and scare it back towards dry land with a well-placed toss of a large stick when it had some sort of seizure and fell backwards into deep water.  It's head and wings were underwater with talons and tail above.   He was drowning!  I jumped in, waded out and grabbed his talons and quickly turned him right side up to give him some sense of reality.  He was kind of sputtering (if birds do that) and got him into a carrier.  He was breathing but did not attempt to stand or escape in any way.   I stopped once on the trip to Soarin' Hawk ICU to make sure he was still breathing and found no changes in his condition.  On arrival at ICU, he was much more alert and active and two other volunteers took over while I looked for dry socks.          Rescuer Ross