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Five months after being rescued, a bald eagle was released Wednesday morning at Carpenter Nature Center

Ben Wilson releases the bald eagle that was rescued during a snowstorm in March by three Carpenter Nature Center staff members and volunteers.

During one of the many blizzards the Hastings-area experienced in 2011, a small team from Carpenter Nature Center was forced to take matters in to their own hands. An injured bald eagle had been reported in the backyard of a nearby home, and there was no way for rescuers from the University of Minnesota Raptor Center to get to Hastings to rescue the bird.

Jen Vieth, Carpenter's development director, had rescued birds before and knew the window of opportunity was a small one. Something had to be done. She drove to the scene with a colleague, chased the bird down a hill and eventually rescued it.

On Wednesday morning, the bird was banded just after arriving at the nature center. Shortly thereafter, Vieth watched the rehabilitated bird soar high into the sky over Carpenter. It then landed on a tree near the river.

Staff at the Raptor Center thinks the eagle was injured in a territorial dispute with another eagle. It was obvious to the staff that the eagle was ready to be released.

"They are looking forward to getting him back into the wild," Vieth said. "He's ornery. He's all eagle. He's all attitude. It's neat that the story has a good ending. When we rescued him, I totally didn't expect (him to survive). He looked bad and smelled worse."

Just a few weeks ago, on Aug. 9, Vieth rescued an eagle that had been hit by a train. That eagle did not survive, and the news saddened Vieth. This week's good news turned those spirits around, she said.

Jim Nielsen and Pam Cook also were along for the eagle rescue in March. They were in attendance at the release, too.

Chad Richardson

Chad Richardson is the news director for RiverTown Multimedia. He was the publisher of four RiverTown publications until 2016, when he was named news director. He was previously general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He worked at the Hastings Star Gazette from 1996 to 2000 as a photographer and reporter. He also worked as a photographer and writer at the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood.

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