Nothing is more majestic than an eagle soaring through the sky - except, perhaps, an eagle soaring free after needing to be returned to health.
Patton the eagle was released Saturday morning in front of a crowd of fascinated onlookers gathered at the Pulaski County Park.
After soaring away - and then taking a quick rest on the ground - the released eagle was "buzzed" by another one who happened to be in the area.
Liberty Nature Center's CEO Frances Carter imagined it to be Patton's sibling, welcoming Patton back.
Carter and volunteers at Liberty Nature Center have worked with Patton ever since the sickly eagle was found in July.
The raptor was a fledgling, having just hatched this year. It took several tests to figure out what was wrong with the bird, Carter said.
Finally, Dr. Sam Vaughn in Louisville found that Patton had a bacterial infection in his trachea.
"Dr. Vaughn said it's a 'nasty water bacteria.'" Carter said.
Once the cause was determined, doctors and staff had to find an antibiotic that wasn't resistant to the bacteria.
"We had to have a special medicine mixed up by Dr. [Bruce] Jasper," Carter said.
The type of infection Patton had meant that he was "either going to quickly recover or die," she said.
Once the medicine started working, it was just a matter of getting Patton back to normal.
After a while, "He started eating everything we put in front of him, so we knew his appetite was back and he's okay," Carter said.
He also spent time in a 120-foot by 30-foot netted enclosure practicing how to fly.
That was how the team knew that when Patton was released he would be ready to return to the wild.
"It was a good release," Carter said.