Duke Energy sponsored the American Eagle Foundation (AEF) Birds Of Prey Program, which visited North Clay Middle School.
The AEF, based out of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1985 to develop and help conduct recovery programs for the bald eagle and its environment.
"We are an organization that rehabilitates and restores eagles and other birds of prey to their natural habitat," handler Karen Wilbur said. "However, some birds have been injured or they have been human imprinted (believe they are human) and are no longer able to be released into the wild."
Those birds are then taken into the educational programs and are used at different schools around the United States and the headquarters at the Dollywood entertainment park.
Students at North Clay were educated on the habits, environment and the dietary substance of the birds.
"The goal of the AEF and the Birds of Prey Program is to educate people," handler Danielle Wilbur said. "Often people believe in the wise tales that they have been told since they were born and because people are not educated then they sometimes take sometimes hurt the bird when the bird has done nothing wrong."
Students met Osceola, a male Bald Eagle with only one wing. Danielle explained the eagles mate for life and they were declared the National Emblem of the United States in 1782 because it is unique to North America and is found in every state except Hawaii.
"During the 1970s there were only 417 pairs in the lower United States," Danielle said. "The eagles were dying because of the pesticide DDT, which got into the food supply for the birds. The DDT lowered the calcium and when the eagles would lay eggs the shells would be thin and would break during the incubation process."
The Bald Eagle was listed on the Endangered Species List from 1967-1995, and then placed on a threatened status until 2007.
"This is one of the ways Duke Energy supports the local community," Senior Scientist at Duke Energy Tim Hayes said. "By promoting the education of wildlife and helping to preserve our future."
For the 14th year in a row, Duke Energy will be having the annual bald eagle watch at the Cayuga Electric Power Plant, north of Terre Haute, today and tomorrow, starting at 9 a.m.