ANCHORAGE -

After working hard to help a bald eagle to recover from burns, volunteers at Bird TLC learned the biggest reward can be letting go.

Sparkie came to the Bird TLC earlier this year with burnt feathers after the young eagle's feathers were singed when it tried to catch rodents fleeing the fire. Even after months in recover, Bird TLC volunteer, Dave Dorsey said this is still a wild animal.

"He knows what he needs to do," Dorsey said. "He just needs a chance to get out and do it."

On Saturday, Dorsey and another volunteer entered Sparkie's cage with blankets to capture the bird one last time.

The young bald eagle is still brown. It's three or four years old. The white feathers bald eagles are known for don't grow in until later in life.

"He's feisty!" the volunteer helping Dorsey said as the two men hold the bird in a blanket.

Sparkie's next step to freedom was being put in a traveling crate. It takes quick, careful coordination to lock him in the crate before shutting the lid. Dorsey loaded his pickup in the parking lot in front of Bird TLC for the drive to Soldotna.

In Soldotna, a crowd gathered to watch the bird released back in to the wild.

"We like to return the birds to that area {Soldotna} to replenish what was brought out of there," Dorsey said.