EMalky Spektor, Gabriela Escalante, and Rebecca Leonard, student volunteers in the Wildlife Medical Clinic at the University of Illinois, carefully shimmied the eagle out of the box and onto the wet ground. The once sickly eagle was ready to be released into the Effingham sky.
A crouched Spektor and Escalante sprang upright and pulled away a towel that was draped over the eagle. The great bird immediately propelled itself through the bare trees and soared over Lake Sara.
For Spektor and the rest of her team, it was the first time they had ever released an eagle. (Video posted to news site.)