With summer orientation in full swing on the campus of Georgia Southern University, students and staff are welcoming hundreds of new Eagles to their future home.
One new arrival, though, will not be registering for any classes.
The Georgia Southern University Center for Wildlife Education announced this week that a new American bald eagle is joining its flock.
Franklin, a 6-pound Southern bald eagle recently rescued from the wild, will become the third American bald eagle living in the GSU Wildlife Center habitat.
He will join new comrades Freedom, who has become the superstar mascot for Georgia Southern athletics, flying over Paulson Stadium during football game days, and Glory, who welcomes wildlife center guests from a large nest-perch in the center's sanctuary.
Like all Georgia Southern birds of prey, Franklin made his way to the university after a debilitating injury that will prevent him from being released into the wild.
Franklin came to Statesboro by way of the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Fla., who found the bird running through the woods near Tallahassee, with a bone fracture in his right wing and ligament damage.
After an unsuccessful attempt by a veterinarian to pin Franklin's broken bone and elbow, he was deemed unable to fly and therefore could not be released.
With the help of the Audubon Center, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Franklin found a new home when Georgia Southern was able to add him to its permits, according to university staff.
"It is unfortunate when bald eagles sustain injuries that keep them from being released back into the wild, but I am pleased that the Wildlife Center has the opportunity to give Franklin a new home," said Scott Courdin, wildlife curator at Georgia Southern. "Here at the Wildlife Center he will be admired, appreciated and will help our visitors gain insight to this majestic species."
The new bird will go on display along the nature walkway at the Wildlife Center, Courdin said.
Franklin's new name was given as a playful reference to Benjamin Franklin, who once wished to make the turkey the national symbol for the United States.
The new eagle also joins a wide assortment of birds of prey and several indigenous species of wildlife on display at the Georgia Southern Wildlife Center.
The center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-5 p.m. Saturday, except for Saturdays from June through August.
For more information, call the center at (912) 478-0831.