Watching eagles fly along the Quincy riverfront is a favorite pastime for many people, even in the cold weather we've been experiencing.
A group of Quincy bird lovers braved that cold weather for the the rare opportunity to see one of these creatures go back into the wild for the first time.
It's hard to imagine another animal that fits the term "majestic" better than the American Bald Eagle. For centuries these birds have held a special place in our nation's heart, especially here in the Tri-States.
And that's why Wednesday was a very special day.
The Quincy Raptor Rescue program gave some eagle watchers a rare chance to see one of these birds up close and personal as it prepared to release one back into the wild.
Karen Roush works with the Raptor Rescue and says that this bird came to them in December after it was found on the side of the road by a conservation agent. "We of course did an evaluation, X rays and stuff. He did have some wing issues we had to repair. He had gotten stunned and that's probably, he probably hit something and that's why he was actually laying on the side of the road. We were fortunate that he wasn't hurt that bad," Roush said.
Despite his nickname of "Chester," Karen says the rescue program was very careful not to make this wild animal dependent on people. "They're gonna expect for the humans, to rely on their food. They're not going to go out and hunt. Maybe stay in somebody's back yard waiting to be taken care of," she said.
As the time for the release got closer, a small crowd of enthusiastic bird lovers gathered by the Quincy Lock and Dam for the big moment.
Many tried to get a closer look at this amazing creature.
Finally at 4 p.m., Karen and Dr. Drew Kaiser, who started the Raptor Rescue program, pulled Chester's crate from the back of the truck and placed it on the ground facing the trees.
It took a little bit of coaxing, but within a few seconds Chester the Eagle was flying free . Back to his home in the wild.
Just another majestic beauty soaring above the icy waters of the Mississippi.