NORFOLK -- Three young eagles will be returned to the wild later this month and you can join wildlife officials to say goodbye and good luck.
The three were removed from their nest at Norfolk Botanical Garden in late April after their mother was killed by a plane landing at Norfolk International Airport.
They've been cared for at The Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro and people around the world have watched their progress on the WVEC.com Eaglecam.
"Today the three are healthy, can fly, and are ready to go back into the wild – free and on their own," said President Ed Clark.
The release will occur Wednesday, July 27 at 11:00 a.m. at historic Berkeley Plantation on the James River between Williamsburg and Richmond.
Officials say the plantation provides eagle-friendly habitat and is just across the river from the James River National Wildlife Refuge – 4,200 acres of protected land that hosts one of the largest Bald Eagle roosts on the East Coast.
The event is free and open to the public, but officials ask that your RSVP so they know how many people to expect.
"Based on the RSVPs we’ve received to date, we’re expecting folks from 24 states and Canada to be attending the eagle release," Center spokesman Randy Huwa told WVEC.com.
Officials stress you should be prepared for hot weather by dressing in light clothes, wear a hat, sunscreen and bring something to drink, like water.
One of the eaglets will be released just after 12 noon. That will be shown live on 13News @ Noon with reporter/anchor Joe Flanagan reporting live.
WVEC.com is planning to stream the release of all three eaglets beginning at 11:00 a.m.
Wildlife Center officials said one of the three young eagles will be fitted with a transmitter. "It will allow Va. Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries eagle biologists, Wildlife Center staff, and visitors to the Wildlife Center’s website to track the eagle’s travels for up to two years," explained Huwa.
There's been no final decision on which eagle will be fitted, but Center staff expects it to be attached to one of the two females.