Eagle hurt by plane to remain at Ohio rehab center

CASTALIA, Ohio - A bald eagle hit by a plane at a northwest Ohio airport last year probably won't recover enough to be released into the wild, according to the nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation center that has cared for the bird for months.

The Back to the Wild rehab facility in Castalia plans to keep the female eagle for use in educational programs.

"It breaks our hearts that she probably won't be released," staff supervisor Heather Yount told the News-Herald in nearby Port Clinton. "She was a fighter. She wanted it. Unfortunately, in good conscience, we couldn't put her back out there because she couldn't survive."

A plane clipped the bird at Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport late last year, and it suffered a broken wing. After multiple surgeries, the injured wing now hangs lower than the other one and hinders the eagle's flying. It can fly back and forth in a contained space by can't bank corners, a key skill in the wild.

Under federal law, birds at rehabilitation facilities like Back to the Wild can't be kept more than 180 days in recovery or they must be euthanized, but the center was granted an extension to keep working with the eagle.

Yount said five more bald eagles permanently stay at the facility near Lake Erie.

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