FROM DINGLE HILL: THE RELEASE OF “MASONVILLE”–January 2024

By Peg DiBenedetto

A quick recap from my last column:

A female eagle collided with a delivery truck near Masonville in September. Injured in roadside ditch, she was attentively presided over by a very nice construction worker, Joe McGovern (on his way to a job, but admirably unwilling to leave the bird until help arrived) and then by Joe’s very nice supervisor, Don Snow, who sent him on his way and took over guard duties.) The eagle was transported to Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center in Hunter, for diagnosis and treatment of wing and head injuries.

 

Masonville, the Eagle, Part II

“I don’t know how she survived,” said Joe, as he and my husband Michael walk through a freshly-cut cornfield near Route 206. Michael had invited Joe the night before to be present at the release. They carry the crate between them containing precious cargo: the large female eagle dubbed “Masonville” who has just completed nearly ten weeks of rehabilitation.

For the first few weeks, she’d been confined to a cage in the critical care unit where she rested, ate, healed, and built up strength. She’d then graduated to a small outdoor cage, and finally into the flight cage where she regained use of her wings under careful observation.

At last the day arrived  when Dave LoVerde, the owner/manager/caretaker/wildlife rehabilitator, determined that “Masonville” was ready for freedom. And time was of the essence because the approaching breeding season meant that paired birds would search for each other. Unattached individuals would start to pair up. Dave knew that the big, beautiful bird would have no trouble finding a mate, but if her original beau was looking for her Dave didn’t want to stand in the way of true love.

Michael and Joe settle the crate on a small rise in the vast field. “I didn’t know it at the time,” said Joe, “but she’d hit the FedEx truck and cracked the windshield so hard that the driver couldn’t really see—had to stick her head out the window most of the way back to the depot.”

Michael carefully removes the lid and steps back.

It takes a moment for the eagle to orient herself and get her bearings. Then she makes a decision, flaps a few graceful beats and lifts off the ground. She heads northeast and disappears behind the treeline. The men thrill that she flies well and wonder where she’s gone. After a few moments, she reappears down the valley, flying determinedly toward a site unknown to the humans on the ground, yet almost certainly known to her.

“Go forth and multiply!” Michael whispers under his breath. “Go forth and soar!

   Michael DiBenedettos YouTube has a video of this release, along with other videos of wildlife and assorted subjects.~