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Brian Baladez of Cloquet releases Harley on Saturday at Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center along the St. Croix River in Hastings, Minn. Baladez rescued the bald eagle near Wascott, Wis., last summer. (Photo by Amber Burnette)

Fit and flying free: Harley the bald eagle recovered and released

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A fully recovered Harley the bald eagle was released Saturday as a crowd of 200 to 250 people cheered on a hillside overlooking the St. Croix River.

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"The energy of the crowd, it was so exciting," said Julia Ponder, director of the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, which nursed the male eagle back to health. "The eagle just powered away, strong from the first flap."

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