Aquila the Eagle flies off into the sunset

The clouds broke and the sun started to shine last night as almost 30 people gathered to watch the Juneau Raptor Center release Aquila the bald eagle back into the wild.

Aquila is a juvenile bald eagle, meaning she doesn’t yet have the bright white head and tail of an adult eagle. Her feathers are a mixture of brown and white.

Kay Gray was walking her dogs on June 30 when when she found the bird flat on her stomach next to Gray’s house.

Aquila is actually the second eagle Gray has found in her yard and she knew just who to call.

Pat Bock has been a volunteer with the Juneau Raptor Center for 15 years.  She’s answered both calls to Gray’s house.

“I’m so glad we have them,” Gray said. Gray admires the Center’s efforts to rehabilitate injured or sick birds. “It’s amazing that they can bring them back.”

Volunteers at the center cared for the eagle and after three days Aquila was getting back to normal.

“I’ve never seen a turnaround that fast,” Bock said. Bock said while they don’t know the exact cause of Aquila’s sickness it’s likely that the bird had ingested something bad.

Aquila now wears an ID band. Should something happen to her again, volunteers at the center will be able to identify her.

As the crowd gathered behind the police station, kids lined up around the truck to watch volunteers bring the eagle out.

After the door to the crate was opened, Aquila quickly took flight towards Egan Drive then swooped around and headed up Lemon Creek. She quickly disappeared from sight.

Bock urges anyone who finds a bird in distress to call the Juneau Raptor Center.

Aquila quickly takes flight over the Juneau Police Station. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Kay Gray, right, lifts the cover off of Aquila’s crate. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Aquila waits to be released. The juvenile bald eagle had one of the fasted turnarounds volunteers at the Juneau Raptor Center said they had ever seen. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)