Rehabbed bald eagle set free in Suffield

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SUFFIELD -- A Good Friday was extra special in Suffield.

After being discovered by a construction crew about two weeks ago at the Windsor Locks Canal State Park Trail in Suffield, a 13-year-old female eagle that had been likely attacked by another eagle over territory, is back in the air.

"I stopped to watch him and then we realized it was injured," said Danny Hinckley of Hinckley Construction.

"I had a jacket so I took my jacket and put it over its head," he added. "It calmed down so we could scoop it up."

From there, the crew got the eagle to animal control and that's when Tom Riccardi got involved. He runs the Massachusetts Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Project in Conway.

"The eagle was found on the ground, bleeding pretty heavily and I picked up the bird and found it had 12 puncture wounds in its spine and it looked like it was attacked by another eagle," said Riccardi.

"Once we got the bleeding under control we put it on antibiotics, we fed it, it did really well," added Riccardi.

On Friday, it was a chance for the 13-year-old female eagle to take flight once again. With about 100 people watching, Riccardi opened its cage and the raptor climbed to the sky.

"Today was an awesome day to see that eagle fly like that, it was really cool, we've seen not happy endings in some cases so this was really good," said Bruce Morrell a wildlife photographer who is part of the Connecticut Bald Eagle Study Group.

"It was cool," said 9-year-old Kara Dabkowski of Suffield. "I thought it was just going to walk around and it flew."

"It's amazing when you get a chance to recover an eagle like that and see it fly away, it's just an amazing sight," said Officer Sam Defelice of the Connecticut Encon police.

The eagle is banded so it can be monitored by volunteers like Morrell and fellow photographer Bill Mercey, also of the Connecticut Bald Eagle Study Group. Such volunteers help report on progress of birds or prey to the Connecticut DEEP.