Munchie, the baby golden eagle rescued by an 11-year-old boy in July, is free at last. Fully recovered, the bird took flight over a Wyoming ranch on October 5, where there are plenty of prairie dogs and other prey to feed on.
“He was very anxious to leave his crate and flew off quickly,” wrote Susan Ahalt of Ironside Bird Rescue in Cody, Wyoming, to Indian Country Today Media Network. “The ranch is a super habitat for him as they have lots of prey living there.”
The eagle, suffering from a bacterial infection in its throat, had been found by 11-year-old Preston Olson in July. Unable to swallow, the three-month-old raptor had to be hand-fed via tube four times daily and medicated, Ahalt said in a blog post detailing the recovery and release.
Dubbing the eagle “Munchie,” Ahalt kept at it until the bird regained its strength, increasing from five pounds upon arrival to eight pounds by the end of August. Still, it was not 100 percent clear whether the bird would make a full recovery, Ahalt wrote to ICTMN at the time.
Munchie was let go in a “far pasture overlooking a prairie dog town which is an excellent food source for an eagle,” Ahalt wrote in the blog post. “Munchie took off right away but landed on a hillside to scope out the area. As soon as I started walking in his direction he decided he had to check it out from farther away. He wasn't taking any chances of my catching him again.”
Munchie’s release was one of three success stories in recent weeks, Ahalt noted. The first was something of a miracle: An eagle she named Deuce, brought to her in April after being electrocuted, was recovered enough to be brought back to its original territory to join its mate, Ahalt wrote. The second was Munchie, and the third was Rose, who was brought back from lead poisoning and released on October 12, Ahalt said.