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Sick, injured bald eagle — ‘Eleanor’ — successfully rehabilitated and released on Paintsville Lake

A rehabilitated bald eagle has been released back into the wild at Paintsville Lake State Park after recovering from injuries that nearly led to its death on a bitterly cold winter night in January.



“It was probably 15 degrees that night,” state wildlife biologist Jayson Plaxico told The Paintsville Herald. “It probably wouldn’t have made it to the morning.”

A rehabilitated bald eagle named Eleanor was released back into the wild by officials from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the Liberty Nature Center. (Waylon Whitson/The Paintsville Herald via Kentucky Today)



Spectators applauded Saturday as the eagle, named Eleanor by her rescuers, flapped its way into the sky after being released by officials from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the Liberty Nature Center in Somerset.



Paintsville resident Bob Hutchinson found the eagle on Jan. 19 lying in the snow.



“I’m thinking, ‘Why is this eagle here?’ I just couldn’t believe it,” Hutchinson said.



Hutchison called wildlife officials who sent the bird to Liberty Nature Center to undergo extensive rehabilitation.



“It had an infection in its left leg,” Plaxico said. “We found a hole there, and it couldn’t grasp anything with that leg.”



Eleanor is one of a growing number of eagles in Kentucky. Wildlife officials said Kentucky had 164 pairs of bald eagles last year, nearly double the number recorded just seven years prior. 



“We’ve not documented a nest on Paintsville Lake,” Plaxico said. “But, you can spot about three or four of the eagles there pretty regularly.”

This story first appeared in The Paintsville Herald and was distributed by Kentucky Today.

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