Rehabilitated eagle released back into wild

(Photo by Morgan Timms, The Taos News)

Santa Fe Raptor Center Director Lori Paras releases a juvenile bald eagle into the wild Sunday (Oct. 28) at the Río Grande Gorge Bridge in Taos. The bald eagle was rescued by Christopher Michael, of Questa, while he was fishing in the gorge in February. The eagle suffered from severe lead poisoning, caused by feeding on game hunted with a deadly lead shot.

“It looked like he was dead,” said Michael, who owns Río Grande Del Norte Outfitters. “I poked him at first and he didn’t move. Then I flipped him over and he just let me know he was alive, so I wrapped him up in a jacket and hiked him out.”

After many months of treatment and rehabilitation at the Santa Fe Raptor Center, the eagle was released Sunday before dozens of spectators. Michael and his family were among them.

“When I pulled him out, he was just a shell of himself,” Michael said. “So to watch him alive today, man, that’s true freedom right there.”