All of the birds we release have to first prove that they can fly well. Then they must prove that they can hunt also. For example, we tried the Rough-Legged Hawk (1st pic) in a medium sized mew at the clinic with a pigeon and mice. It really didn't have the proper room, so nothing really happened. Cindy then took it to the flight center and it showed her what it could do.
The same goes for Eagles. They must prove that they can fly and defend for themselves. They don't always hunt, they are opportunist. So if several eagles are trying for salmon strips and one is bashful and just watches no mater how hungry it gets, that's not a good thing. They must be aggressive to survive on their own.
I tagged along to the flight center where they were going to flight test a Snowy Owl. I sort of have a special interest there. The door of the kennel was removed and he had to be coached out with a walking stick. When he got out he just looked around until Cindy jumped (3rd pic). He flew and flew well to the other end of the cell (4th pic).
Now he's going to have to prove to us that he can hunt. That we'll do a little later on. He seems like he is lacking a little motivation right now.
BTW, notice the young man in the red jacket (5th pic)? That's Dr. James Scott, DVM our founder. He's 70 something years young and is still helping out today with catching a few birds with a big smile on his face.