Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine released a 2 year-old bald eagle back to the wild in the Asotin Creek drainage on Thursday, May 8, 2008. “Maverick” came to WSU’s veterinary college almost a year ago after being found unable to fly near Winthrop, Wash. The bird had many missing and broken flight and tail feathers but otherwise was healthy. WSU’s veterinary college has done little for the eagle other than to provide secure housing until he could molt again to bring in new feathers.
Maverick was housed in the university’s recently refurbished turkey facility. Poultry production programs were discontinued at WSU many years ago and the building had sat mostly idle until private donations brought it new life. Generous donations from Potlatch Corporation and the Kinsman Foundation in 2007 provided much needed funds for the facility upgrades. Maverick spent his year in a large, protected enclosure, called a mews, that was open to the air outside. The mews provided him with a place to regrow feathers safely as well as kept him acclimated to the outdoor temperatures.