Dozens of people gathered at the Prairie Heritage Center in O’brien county to witness the release of two eagles that have been nursed back to health after being exposed to lead.  
 
A large crowd showed up to the conservation area in anticipation of witnessing two golden eagles being released back into nature after months of recovering from deadly exposure to lead, with help from members of SOAR, which stands for saving our avian resources. 
 
Kay Neuman, the Executive Director for SOAR says, “It’s amazing, so I think that was something that got people out.”
 
A room full of bird watchers found their way to Prairie Heritage Center in order to learn more about a dilemma that’s affecting eagles in the Hawkeye state — deadly lead exposure by hunting ammunition. 
 
The spectators were able to get the run down on the dangers of the chemical element before being able to get a close glance of two juvenile eagles who had been saved by SOAR, an organization that strives on providing care for injured birds.  
 
“To be able to release a couple of eagles is really exciting and really good, but we don’t get to do it very often,” says Neuman. 
 
People of all ages were present to witness the release of the eagles, an animal that symbolizes freedom and is considered holy to many not just in Iowa, but the United States.  
 
“Bald eagles are our national symbol, they’re sacred to Native Americans, people really connect with them,” says Neuman. 
 
“Eagles are a great part of our community,” says eagle spectator Carol Frerk.
 
Those who hunt and have a love for eagles say Sunday’s message hits home.
 
“It opened my eyes today, because I am a hunter and I didn’t realize the lead issue is a big is what it is,” says eagle spectator Bill Frerk. 
 
“We found a 22-bullet in an eagle’s stomach. That really cemented the ammunition source for us. That’s what we were finding in eagle digestive tracts,” says Neuman. 
 
Neuman says non-lead ammunition is the way to go to help preserve the lives of eagles and other animals. 
 
Since January of this year, SOAR has brought in 14 eagles who have been exposed to lead. To date, only one remains alive.