A male golden eagle returned to the wild in the North County on Thursday after nearly seven months of rehabilitation.
Pacific Wildlife Care released the eagle on a private ranch near Santa Margarita, ending one of the longest rehab efforts in the group’s history. Its journey back to health included four months under the care of UC Davis veterinarians.
The eagle was found Feb. 17 in the Highway 101 corridor near Santa Margarita after evidently being hit by a car. It had significant head and eye injuries.
The bird did not take well to captivity and further injured itself by thrashing around inside its cage, said Jeanette Stone, a volunteer with the group. This prompted its transfer to UC Davis, where it could receive more specialized care.
Given its eye injury, it was not clear whether the eagle could ever be released back into the wild.
“They have to have perfect vision,” Stone said.
Against the odds, vets gave the eagle a clean bill of health recently, and it flew free Thursday afternoon. It was the second golden eagle released by Pacific Wildlife Care this year.
Reach David Sneed at 781-7930.