Rehabilitated bald eagle released at Hammock Bay in Freeport

March 2, 2012

Stephanie Kadletz, Wildlife Health Supervisor at Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge prepares to release rehabilitated bald eagle March 2. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Raptor released close to where rescued

A rehabilitated American bald eagle was released at Hammock Bay Mar. 2 by members of Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge.

The eagle was discovered injured at a residence near Whitfield Road in Freeport Jan. 31. The raptor had suffered lacerations to the abdomen, head and beak with a portion of the maxillary rostrum (upper beak) damaged.

The source of the injuries was never determined.

Once rehabilitated, the Refuge worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service resources to determine a suitable release location.

“He initially refused to eat and had to be force fed,” said Stephanie Kadletz, Wildlife Health Supervisor at the Refuge. However, the eagle continued to do well and was seen by an eye specialist who confirmed that he received a small puncture to his left eye. Fortunately, the eye did not deflate, and healed well.

The refuge released the eagle with assistance from Joe Wyatt, naturalist at Hammock Bay. Wyatt is familiar with nesting eagles in the area and assisted in determining location of release. The eagle was released close to where it was rescued.

The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge provides wildlife rescue, rehab and environmental outreach to five counties in Northwest Florida. The Refuge rescues thousands of animals a year working closely with local law enforcement, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to protect, treat and release native species.

The Refuge also is the lead response team for the Federal Marine Mammal Stranding Network assisting with all marine mammal strandings from mid-Walton County to the Alabama state line. Refuge staff is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing an invaluable service to one of the most biologically diverse areas of North America. Established in 1994, the Refuge was officially incorporated as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The Refuge is funded through private contributions, memberships, fundraising events, business partners and grants to support our mission.

To learn more about Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, go to:, or call them at (850) 650-1880.