'This opportunity, this close, doesn't come every day': Hundreds gather for bald eagle release

Wildlife experts save 7-year-old eagle, that fell into Campbell County landfill

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Frankie Rice and hundreds of others couldn't miss this rare opportunity.

The textile worker requested a vacation day to have a spot at a park in Campbell County.

"As soon as I found out, I went and asked if I can get off. I knew this opportunity this close doesn't come every day," Rice said.

Rice has been shooting nature photos for 10 years.

Tuesday's show called for the big lenses.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia invited people to meet a bald eagle. It's not every day you come face to face with one.

Experts with the wildlife center said that, last month, the 7-year-old bird fell from the sky into the Campbell County landfill.

"Apparently it had eaten something highly toxic at the landfill. And that is a problem we're seeing increase across Virginia and other states," Ed Clark, the president and co-founder of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, said.

It wasn't the first time the bird had gotten sick Clark said.

Veterinarians tracked her records down in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she also ate something toxic, he said.

"The fact that she's 7 years old shows that she's succeeded from her first encounter with a landfill.

The fact that she's back at another landfill doesn't bid well. Hopefully, she'll learn something this time," Clark said.

With antibiotics, fluids and therapy, local vets got the bird healthy in just six weeks.

As she flew back home, people on the ground captured the once in-a-lifetime moment.

"I like really seeing the people enjoy it,especially the young people to come out. It's a good experience for the youngsters to see," Rice said. He said of the picture he would take, "I will just take it, blow it up, frame it and, once in a while, display it."