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World Bird Sanctuary builds new exercise cage

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VALLEY PARK, MO (KTVI)-- For the past three months, these bald eagles have called the World Bird Sanctuary home.

"The number one reason we get them is because they've run into a man-made object, be that a car or window or fence," says Roger Holloway the Director of Operations at the sanctuary.

And with any injury you need time to heel before heading out into the world.

"Anybody that has been through physical therapy understands that it's absolutely the most important part of any type of recuperation, especially from surgery to repair a limb or joint," says Executive director Walter Crawford.  "It's very very important."

For these two juvenile eagles, they've been perched and ready to recover from wing injuries.

Today they got to spread those wings in the new exercise cage at the sanctuary.

"You go to work you sit at your desk all day," says Crawford.  "Well you're not going to go the next day and run a marathon and that's what they have to do cause once they're out there they're on their own."

The new exercise cage is 200 feet long to allow for longer flights.

Today's takeoffs and landings were encouraging because these wings are healing and ready to spread back out into the wild.

"Now that we have the extension it's probably one of the bigger ones in this part of the United States if not the biggest," says Crawford.  "And it helps us condition them for that release."

Which for these guys will be in the next few weeks.

"The longer you can keep them flapping and in the air and using those muscles then the shorter the stay is going to be," says Holloway.  "That's better for them to get back to the wild and that's better for us because these birds take a lot of food."

As Benjamin Franklin once said, guests like fish, begin to smell after three days.