A rescued and rehabilitated bald eagle takes flight from the Teton Raptor Center after volunteer Anne Hare opens a crate door. Recovery from a crash through a Hoback Junction home window took six weeks. The square hole in its left wing feathers will help observers identify it for a few months before it molts. (Angus M. Thuermer, Jr./WyoFile)

A volunteer at the Teton Raptor Center in Wilson released a rescued bald eagle from a crate last Friday and watched it fly to freedom.

Anne Hare kneeled beside the repurposed dog crate that center workers had carried to the top of a mound of snow. She reached to the latch, helped the door swing open and watched the bird hop out. It took another hop then stroked the air with its wings and took off, disappearing into the landscape after flying a quarter mile or so.

“I got to rescue, then rehab, then release,” Hare said.

The eagle flew through a window in a home south of Jackson near Hoback Junction on Jan. 28, startling resident Reed Moulton, who summoned a rescue. Teton Raptor Center rescuers captured the bird inside his house and have been caring for it since.

Among other things, rehabilitators dressed cuts and bruises and cleansed lead from its system. After training sessions, they deemed the eagle fit to fly and capable of making its living in the wild.

The eagle will turn 31 this spring, according to a band on one leg. It had faithfully nested in the Hoback area for years, observers believe, and its mate was likely the bird circling overhead when center workers rescued it.

Support Wyoming photography — donate to WyoFile today

Hare released the bird in Wilson, five miles or so from its nest. Center workers said they didn’t want it closer to home because, as things go in Jackson Hole, its mate had bonded with another male only the week before.

A fight between the males could have been deleterious, given the rescued bird’s weakened state.

Before its release, rescuers cut a small, square hole in the bird’s left wing feathers so they will be able to identify it when it is soaring. The missing piece should not affect its flight and will fill in later in the spring when the bird molts, they said.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at angus@wyofile.com or (307)...

Join the Conversation


Want to join the discussion? Fantastic, here are the ground rules: * Provide your full name — no pseudonyms. WyoFile stands behind everything we publish and expects commenters to do the same. * No personal attacks, profanity, discriminatory language or threats. Keep it clean, civil and on topic. *WyoFile does not fact check every comment but, when noticed, submissions containing clear misinformation, demonstrably false statements of fact or links to sites trafficking in such will not be posted. *Individual commenters are limited to three comments per story, including replies.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. A beautiful story of good people taking care of an injured animal, our American eagle. Thank you!

  2. I love this story–a brief respite from the daily news as my imagination takes me on a journey with this majestic creature living in the Hoback for 31 years. Well done, TRC!