Wildlife Center of Virginia reflects on American Bald Eagle Day

A Bald Eagle sits in front of a sign at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro.
A Bald Eagle sits in front of a sign at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro.(Wildlife Center of Virginia)
Published: Jun. 20, 2023 at 11:05 AM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) - June 20 is National American Eagle Day, and the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro has been caring for Bald Eagles since 1985. In 1985, the Center admitted its very first Bald Eagle patient, after the Eagle was released, the Center led a successful campaign to ban the most common form of carbofuran in Virginia and across the United States.

That single policy change has saved the lives of millions of birds, including Bald Eagles, every year, the Center says.

Alex Wehrung, Outreach and Education Public Affairs Manager with the Wildlife Center, said in 1970 there were as few as 20 documented breeding pairs of Bald Eagles in Virginia.

“A combination of habitat destruction, environmental pollution and degradation, and pesticides had ravaged the Bald Eagle population.” Wehrung said. “Today there are more than 3,000 breeding pairs of Bald Eagles in the Chesapeake Bay region alone.”

In the past gathering information on rehabilitated eagles post-release was a difficult task. Biologists, researchers, and wildlife professionals working together with various government agencies have been banding wild birds, including eagles, for more than a century. Because of recent advancements in technology, collecting data on the movements, life spans, and behaviors of Bald Eagles in the wild has become much more sophisticated.

Created by the American Eagle Foundation in 1995, American Bald Eagle Day is celebrated each year on June 20. On this day, wildlife professionals and enthusiasts alike take the time to celebrate our national symbol and appreciate these animals that were once in danger.

How to Celebrate American Bald Eagle Day:

  • Learn more about the veterinary and rehabilitative care of Bald Eagles at the Wildlife Center by visiting our Current Patients page.
  • Watch Untamed: Life is Wild, Episode Two: Bald Eagles – and be sure to check out the accompanying Untamed Compendium resources!
  • Look for opportunities to volunteer with wildlife and environmental-based organizations.

You can also learn about the Centers’ own Buddy the Bald Eagle in this article. Buddy the Eagle has served as an education ambassador at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro since he was admitted there. Buddy has become a fan favorite for a lot of people, and serves as an educational tool for the public, as well as for people taking care of animals.