A Summer to Remember
By: Whitney Birnbaum, WLS college summer wildlife rehabilitation intern 2016
This past summer was one I will never forget! I learned so much more about native Wisconsin wildlife than I ever thought I could in such a short amount of time. Learning how to tube rabbits and birds, understanding different wildlife diseases and the ways I could help treat the sick and injured wildlife were just a few of the things I got to experience. Seeing animals very ill and injured, we helped nurse them back to health so they could be released back into the wild. I saw animals which we didn’t think would make it be released when they pulled through their aliments and set free! One of the most memorable animals was a bald eagle that had been electrocuted! I was not there when she was brought in as my internship had not yet started. I remember being told they didn’t know if she would make it; but she did!

One of the coolest days while interning at the Sanctuary was the day she was released– three days before the Fourth of July. Releasing our national bird a few days before Independence Day was such a cool thing to witness. Knowing the only reason she was still alive was because of the help the Sanctuary gave her. We released her at the Oneida Nations Powwow. It was very inspirational because the Oneida Nation Tribe holds bald eagles with high importance. Lori Bankson, the Curator of Animals, was the one who held the bald eagle as the prayer for her release was said. While watching and listening as the eagle was being blessed, I was amazed at all of the people coming together to celebrate their culture. As I stood there in awe, I wished I was as close to my cultural background as the Oneida people are to their culture. When the prayer was over, it was time for the eagle to be released. Lori gently gave the eagle a light toss to help her take off and she was free once more! As she majestically flew away, she was able to be the bald eagle she was born to be– Wild and Free.