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'Eagle Brigade' volunteers sought to protect young eagle from traffic

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By The Staff

ADAMS COUNTY — A young bald eagle whose parents built a nest a few yards away from E-470’s 120th Avenue interchange in Adams County is nearly ready to make its first flight. It’s hoped the youngster won’t be tempted to play in tollway traffic.

Taking steps to prevent that from happening, the Raptor Education Foundation is recruiting volunteers to serve as eagle monitors to help steer the fledging out of harm’s way.

The eagle hatched in mid-April. The eagle’s first flight date is predicted to be around July 3 to 6. That makes it possible that it will take wing for the first time on Independence Day.

“How fitting it would be if our national bird and a symbol of freedom took its first flight on July 4,” said Peter Reshetniak, director of the foundation. He said the foundation is seeking volunteers to sign up for its “Eagle Brigade,” monitoring for periods around the clock. He said a fledgling’s first venture from the nest is usually during the daytime, but a strong evening wind can thrust an eaglet from its nest before it’s ready for sustained flight. 

Reshetniak said the E-470 Public Highway Authority is beginning to post warning signs along the tollway and is providing safety vehicles and vests for the volunteers. 

If the fledgling lands on the ground, monitors will act to keep the bird away from the tollway and immediately contact the foundation. A federal permit is required to handle a bald eagle, and Reshetniak and the foundation’s curator, Anne Price, are both authorized.

The foundation is looking for volunteers who will be charged with the tasks of keeping the general public at a safe distance as well as protecting the young eagle as it learns to fly. Interested parties can contact the center at 303-680-8500.