LOCATION OF RESCUE: Northumberland County, Virginia
CAUSE OF ADMISSION: Suspected hit by car
ADMISSION DATE: December 2, 2011
OUTCOME: Released May 16, 2012
NX, a juvenile Bald Eagle rescued from her nest at the Norfolk Botanical Garden earlier this year and treated and released by the Wildlife Center, was admitted to permitted wildlife rehabilitator Diana O'Connor of Wildbunch Wildlife Refuge in the Northern Neck on December 1. The injured eagle was found at 10:45 a.m. in the middle of the road near the Ophelia post office and was picked up by a local animal control officer.
The preliminary report from the permitted rehabilitator was that NX had a wing droop and blood in her mouth, but was feisty and in good condition.
Two transporters made room in their schedules to immediately transport NX to the Wildlife Center. The bird arrived on December 2 at about 2:10 p.m. and was standing in her transport crate.
Dr. Dave McRuer examined NX and found injuries to her right wing and eye. There were abrasions on her right carpus [wrist], which were sutured together using a skin stapler. Dr. Dave also found a one-square-centimeter laceration on her right wing and the vitreous of NX's right eye also showed some damage. NX also had subcutaneous emphysema [air under the skin] on the left side of her chest. All of these injuries suggest that perhaps NX was hit by a car, though we may know more once radiographs are performed. Blood work revealed that lead levels are "low", meaning that lead toxicity is not an issue.
Dr. Dave removed NX's transmitter so that it does not become damaged or get in the way of any diagnostics. Everything about the transmitter and fitting looked great!
All physical exams start with an eye check:
A familiar band ...
NX weighed in at 4.035 kg. When she was released in August 2011, she was 4.18 kg -- which means she was doing just fine finding her food out in the wild. Both weights were with her transmitter on.
Dr. Dave and team will perform a set of radiographs on NX on December 3.
December 3 update
Dr. Dave reported that NX was standing this morning when he checked on her. She was anesthetized for radiographs and a more thorough physical examination. Today, Dr. Dave found an open wound on the left wing [which was flushed and sutured] and soft-tissue swelling over the right wrist [although the bones and tendons seem fine].
Two additional areas of concern:
GI tract. NX regurgitated overnight; her crop was empty this morning. Radiographs revealed a distended stomach. NX will be given some mice/small chunks of rat this evening to see if she will eat. Dr. Dave would like to take a look at NX’s GI tract within the next week, using the Center’s new endoscope.
Left shoulder. NX’s left shoulder looks slightly drooped, and there may be a slight decreased range of motion. Dr. Dave spotted what might be a small fracture on the head of the coracoid; additional radiographs [after shoulder swelling has subsided] may provide more insights. To be on the safe side, the Center's veterinary team wrapped NX’s left wing in a body wrap.
Dr. Dave thinks these injuries are consistent with NX having been struck by a vehicle.
5:00 p.m. update:
When the veterinary team checked on NX at the end of the day, they found that she ate all of meal -- a small meal of chopped rat/mice. The team hopes that she will keep the meal down overnight.
December 4 update
Dr. Adam and diagnostic intern Katie caught up NX today for her medications and for evaluation. Dr. Adam reported, "I’m pleased to say there was no regurgitation in her crate and all her food from last night had been eaten. Her wounds are healing although the one over the right carpus is still a little open and the subcutaneous emphysema is still palpable."
Katie held NX while Dr. Adam medicated the eagle -- the treatment went fine, but apparently NX put up quite a fight! Katie commented that “NX is the strongest and most feisty eagle I’ve ever held!"
December 5 update
Change of plans: initially, NX was scheduled for radiographs today to see if a different set of x-rays would reveal the same subtle shoulder fracture that Dr. Dave noted on December 3. After removing NX from her small indoor enclosure for morning treatments, the veterinary team decided to wait until later in the week to perform the radiographs. Since her shoulder is still slightly swollen, Dr. Dave anticipates that a few more days of healing will really enable the team to make a better assessment of the injury.
NX was bright, alert, and feisty when the team cleaned her wounds and administered her medications during morning treatments.
December 6 update
Dr. Miranda reports that NX is doing well -- the subcutaneous emphysema over her chest seems to be getting much better. NX did eat last night and kept her meal down. Since NX is eating well, the veterinary team will be putting her p.m. medications in her food to avoid having to grab her up twice a day.
December 7 update
Dr. Dave reports that NX continues to remain bright and alert. She did eat last night, though not all of her food -- the untouched food contained her evening medications. Dr. Dave and team will be catching NX up tonight to ensure she receives her medications. The vet staff will also get a current weight on her, using an XXL "raptor wrapper" that someone recently made for the Center!
On a different note, Wildlife Center staff did get a transmitter "check-in" over the weekend after Dr. Dave put the transmitter out in the sun to recharge. The data shows that NX did travel to Ophelia on November 30 and was hanging around the woods and fields surrounding the road where she was found on December 1. We are not able to pinpoint when NX was likely hit by a vehicle within that 24-hour time frame.
We do know that NX was rescued by Northumberland County Sheriff’s Department Animal Control OfficerKevin Keeve. Kevin has worked for the Sheriff’s office for 16 years, and January will mark two years since he transitioned to Animal Control. NX is the third eagle he has rescued in 2011; the other two came from the Wicomico and Heathsville areas. “I enjoy my job,” he said. “It’s a job that involves a lot of emotion, but I enjoy it.” Deputy Keeve responded to the 10:46 a.m. call about an injured eagle on December 1 and was there to capture NX at 11:01 a.m.
December 8 update
NX continues down the road to recovery. She ate everything last night and once again kept her food down. The vets will check out her GI tract again on radiographs, which will be taken on December 9, but at this point, Dr. Dave anticipates that they will not need to scope NX.
NX was weighed today [wrapped up tightly in a "raptor wrapper"] and is 3.55 kg. While this is down from her initial weight on December 2, the veterinary team isn't concerned. Her initial weight included her transmitter [80 grams] and a crop full of rancid deer meat [which she regurgitated on her first night in the hospital]. Also given the fact that she had to be fasted prior to radiographs, the vets aren't surprised that NX's weight has decreased a bit. She'll likely put that weight back on in a matter of days as she continues to recover.
Dr. Dave affixes a "tail guard" to NX's tail to protect it while housed indoors:
An XXL "raptor wrapper" in action!
3:00 p.m.: Well, we didn't receive this "raptor wrapper" in time for today's weighing ... but there's always another weigh-day right around the corner! Next time, NX will be wrapped in style ...
December 9 update
NX was anesthetized this morning for another series of radiographs. Dr. Miranda and Dr. Dave closely examined NX’s left coracoid and were able to definitively confirm a fracture today. Not only is her coracoid fractured, but it has “avulsed” – meaning that the fractured portion of bone has actually been pulled away by the tension of a ligament or a tendon.
Radiographs from December 3 (with arrow to suspected fracture):
Radiographs from December 9 (with arrow to avulsion):
Dr. Miranda replaced the body wrap on NX, which is securely holding her left wing against her body. The wrap will remain on for the next two weeks. Another set of radiographs will be taken during the week of December 19. The veterinary team hope to see evidence of healing by that point – the fractured area may form a callous, or her body may actually absorb the chunk of bone that has pulled away from the fracture.
NX’s right eye injury is unchanged at this point, though her lacerations are healing nicely. The carpal wound on her right “wrist” is still swollen, but continues to slowly heal. Dr. Miranda noted that NX’s GI tract looked “much happier” on radiographs today, indicating that no scoping would be needed at this time.
December 12 update
NX continues to remain bright, alert, and feisty. She is eating well and finished up her course of medications over the weekend. Dr. Miranda decided to change the treatment procedure for NX's right carpal [wrist] wound; on Saturday, Dr. Miranda applied a small, moist bandage to the area in hopes of encouraging the dry, scabby wound to heal more efficiently.
December 14 update
NX weighed in at 3.82 kgs today -- she continues to eat well. The wound on her right carpus continues to heal slowly -- Dr. Miranda is checking and changing the small dressing over her wound daily.
December 19 update
NX weighed in at 3.96 kg on December 18. She continues to eat well and yes -- continues to be feisty as well! Treatment of her right carpal wound continues. Another set of radiographs are scheduled for December 20.
In other news, NX's rescuer, Officer Kevin Keeve, came to the Wildlife Center on December 19! Officer Keeve received a tour and was able to meet Buddy and see a few other "behind the scenes" things.
Officer Keeve with NX's infamous "raptor wrapper":
Officer Keeve receives a special gift: Return of the Eagle DVD!
December 20 update
NX was anesthetized this morning for another set of radiographs. Dr. Miranda reports that the coracoid avulsion is healing. It’s too soon to tell if the piece of bone is re-attaching or if it will be reabsorbed, as the healing is still taking place.
An additional development: radiographs also revealed boney changes taking place on the head of NX’s left humerus. At this point, it’s too soon to tell what that may mean – it could be possible joint involvement with her shoulder injury, or it could just be another stage of healing. Only time will tell as the coracoid fracture heals. Dr. Miranda is happy with NX’s range of motion in this wing, meaning that Dr. Miranda can’t feel any sort of major issues in the shoulder.
NX will remain indoors in a body wrap for one more week. After that, the wrap will be taken off and the veterinary team will monitor her. Radiographs will be taken again during the first week of January.
December 23 update
The vet staff continue to catch up NX each day to monitor her bandages and change as needed. NX continues to eat well -- she's now weighing in at 4.09 kgs!
December 28 update
The veterinary team caught up NX this morning to remove her body wrap -- diagnostic intern Katie reports that NX continues to remain very feisty. Dr. Miranda removed the body wrap and was pleased with the extension of NX's injured wing. She left "bumpers" [protective bandages] on NX's carpi [wrists] to protect the injured area on the right carpus and to prevent any injuries to the left carpus, now that NX is free to flap that wing.
Dr. Miranda would like to keep NX inside until the next set of radiographs next week -- but if NX becomes too jumpy and active indoors, the veterinary team will move her to a small outdoor enclosure.
December 30 update
Dr. Miranda reports that the wounds on NX's right carpus are healing well; all but one wound has scabbed and healed. The veterinary team continues to check the protective bumpers on NX's wings each day to ensure that they are intact -- this prevents NX from aggravating any carpal injuries. NX is still quite feisty and is a challenge to catch-up, but Dr. Miranda is still comfortable with keeping her inside until the next set of radiographson January 3. If radiographs look good, the plan will be to move NX to a small outdoor enclosure.
NX will also receive an ophthalmic examination to check on her right eye injury on January 3.
January 3 update
NX was anesthetized on the morning of January 3 for another set of radiographs. Dr. Miranda reports that the avulsed piece of bone in NX’s injured shoulder is healing and appears to be reattaching. While NX’s left shoulder still appears to be “dropped” a little on the radiograph, Dr. Miranda is pleased with NX’s range of motion and how that shoulder feels. The boney changes in the humeral head appear to be unchanged from prior radiographs. The veterinary team will continue to monitor on future x-rays. NX’s eye injury is also resolved – Dr. Miranda says that the vitreal fracture in NX’s right eye has healed.
After recovering from anesthesia, NX was moved to one of the Center’s “C-pens” – a small outdoor enclosure for raptors that are not quite ready to be moved into a flight pen. Enclosures in this complex measure about 8’ x 16’ and are large enough for birds to hop and flap to different perches, but are not large enough for flight. At this point, the Center vet and rehabilitation staff do not want NX to over-extend her healing shoulder and wing by flying.
NX is scheduled for another set of radiographs on Monday, January 16. Pending satisfactory radiographs, she will then be moved into a flight pen. As of January 3, NX's current weight is 4.40 kgs.
January 6 update
NX continues to rest comfortably in her outdoor enclosure. Dr. Miranda and team have been checking her daily -- to monitor her appearance and also check that she has her carpal "bumpers" intact. Since NX has been keeping her protective bumpers on, the team has (fortunately) not had to catch-up NX since she was placed outside. The rehab staff are feeding NX one rat and one fish each day.
January 10 update
Thanks to Dr. Miranda's heavy-duty protective bumpers on NX, the veterinary team still hasn't had to catch-up NX in her outdoor enclosure. She continues to eat well.
January 16 update
NX came into the Wildlife Center hospital today for another set of radiographs. Dr. Miranda is pleased by how well the avulsion fracture is healing - the little chunk of fractured bone continues to reattach itself. NX's range of motion in her injured wing is good, and no additional changes were spotted on the head of her humerus [a potential concern on the December 20 radiographs].
Since the Center is currently housing three mature Bald Eagles in each of its A-pens, some "eagle shuffling" will need to be done in order to get NX into a large flight pen. The rehabilitation and vet staff will be working on that Tuesday January 17, and plan on moving NX into A2 if all goes well.
NX is currently weighing in at 4.45 kg [a 450 gram gain since her December admission date], though the staff expect to see that weight decrease once she becomes more active again in a flight pen!
The Wildlife Center staff hope to be able to present NX on a webcam later this week.
January 19 update
NX was moved into a flight pen on Tuesday, January 17. The swinging perches in the A2 enclosure have been lowered to about 5'-6' high, so that she doesn't have to work too hard to make it up to the perches after her six weeks of rest and recovery. NX has been spotted flying the length of the flight pen, though appears to tire quickly -- which is to be expected at this point.
Dr. Miranda opted to keep the "industrial-strength" carpal "bumpers" on NX, just to ensure that her "wrists" are protected as she adjusts to the flight pen. They don't hinder her ability to fly.
January 24 update
NX appears to be settling into A2, one of the Center's largest flight pens, quite well. The staff have been monitoring her on the Critter Cam, and have seen her fly the length of the flight pen several times each day. NX continues to receive a fish and a rat at each feeding, though doesn't always eat both.
The vet staff continue to monitor her carpal bumpers -- as long as they remain intact, they will not need to be changed. The point of the bumpers is to offer protection and padding to NX's "wrists" -- and the outside of the bumpers are designed to take a bit of wear and tear. Dr. Miranda hopes that the staff can get away with only changing the bumpers at the bi-weekly foot and feather checks. The next foot and feather check will be on January 30.
January 30 update
NX was caught up today for a bi-weekly foot and feather check and weigh-in. Dr. Miranda also inspected NX's tattered bumpers and opted to remove them for the time being -- while observing how NX gets around in the flight pen. The veterinary team report that NX's current weight is 4.25 kg, and feet are in good condition. Cam viewers may have noticed that NX is still missing one of the feathers on her left wing that she was missing back in August 2011 -- feather #9. Feather #6 on her left wing is also broken (noted by the veterinary team weeks ago), but feather #8, which was broken in August, is new.
The next foot and feather check will be on February 13. The veterinary team will also take another set of radiographs then, just to check on the healing progress of NX's injured shoulder.
February 13 update
NX was caught up today for a foot and feather check, monthly blood work, and a series of radiographs. The Center is currently having technical issues with the digital radiology server -- while the staff can take radiographs, the server for viewing and storing images is having difficulties. Hopefully this issue will be resolved within the next two days so that the veterinarians can interpret the most recent NX images.
Dr. Adam reports that NX is in good body condition and currently weighs 4.18 kgs. Several of her feathers are "in blood" -- meaning that they are growing in to replace the previously damaged feathers that were there.
NX announced her arrival in the hospital with an eagle scream:
Dr. Adam and Julia anesthetize NX for radiographs:
Getting NX positioned correctly:
Getting weighed in her "diva wrap":
February 14 update
The Center's digital radiology server was functioning again today, so the veterinarians were able to interpret yesterday’s radiographs. Dr. Dave and Dr. Adam agree that NX's shoulder fracture continues to heal -- there is a nice callous around the avulsion fracture. NX’s left shoulder is still "dropped" in comparison to her right shoulder on radiographs – which will probably be a permanent position. This does not appear to be affecting NX’s wing extension or range of motion.
The vets are also able to see some boney changes at the end of NX's left humerus, near the elbow. This is likely mechanical – caused by her healing shoulder. The team would like to re-radiograph NX in a month to assess her injury and ensure there are no additional boney changes in the wing.
February 13 radiographs:
February 27 update
NX was caught up for a foot and feather check today, as well as a weight-check. Dr. Miranda reports that NX is molting -- which is why some eagle-eyed Critter Cam watchers have noticed some of her additional missingfeathers. On her left wing, NX has two primary feathers "in blood" -- and many of her tertiary feathers (wing feathers closest to her body) are also currently growing in. NX's right wing has two primary feathers growing in.
Her feet were cleaned and a little bit of "New Skin" was applied to small cracks on her third digits of each foot -- just to provide a little extra protection. It is not uncommon to find small cracks on raptor feet at this time of year. At this point, the veterinary team is not concerned -- just very proactive in protecting any small foot lesions. NX weighed in today at 4.20 kg.
The next foot and feather check will be on March 12, which is also when NX is scheduled for additional radiographs.
March 12 update
NX was caught up and brought into the Wildlife Center this morning for another series of radiographs, and the Center's vets were pleased with what they saw. The avulsion fracture in NX's left shoulder continues to heal gradually and although there are still some bony changes visible at the end of her humerus, the Center's vets still attribute these to the healing fracture. Her left shoulder is still dropped noticeably, but NX demonstrated a good range of motion in the joint and the Center's vets agreed that there is a good possibility that NX will begin regular exercise later this month.
March 13 update
The Center's veterinary staff consulted with the rehabilitation staff this morning and they agreed that it was time for NX to begin exercising daily. "Critter Cam" veiwers were treated to NX's inaugural session earlier today and in the future, viewers will be able to watch the Center's staff exercise NX every morning. NX will begin with easy exercise (only a few lengths of her enclosure at a time) and if she continues to respond postively to her daily "workouts", she will have her regimen increased.
March 15 update
March 22 update
Bald Eagle NX has been on her exercise program for about a week now -- and on March 21, wildlife rehabilitator Suzy Doell reported that NX had her best session yet.
Overall, NX is a bit stubborn, so evaluating her flights can be tricky. Suzy has found that it's particularly helpful to break the exercise session in two -- Suzy starts with making NX fly the length of the enclosure until NX grows reluctant, then Suzy goes next door to exercise Bald Eagle #11-0136. Once finished in A1, Suzy returns to NX's enclosure to continue the exercise session. On March 21, NX flew a total of 10 times.
NX can fly from perch to perch -- which is ideally what the rehabilitators like to see. NX is also known to occasionally fly to the ground or lower perches, which could indicate that she is tired, or could also just be NX refusing to fly. Suzy noted that NX was fairly winded at the end of Wednesday's exercise session. Exercise will continue to condition NX for release.
March 26 update
NX was scheduled for a regular "foot and feather" check today, but the vet staff are opting to bump this for a couple of days. That's because the goal is to get NX moved into flight pen A3 sometime in the next week -- though the staff will need to do some major "eagle shuffling", not to mention cam shuffling! Dr. Dave feels that it will be better to assess NX in a longer flight pen -- the length of A3 is about 15 feet longer than A2, and of course is much, much higher. Stay tuned for more updates on when the move will occur!
April 2 update
NX was moved to A3 on March 31. The rehabilitation staff report that NX appears to be utilizing the entire pen -- she is able to gain height while flying and is occasionally perching on the high "raptor tower" perches. If NX perches on these structures too often ... it could be difficult to exercise her!
A Critter Cam was set up in NX's pen in advance of her move -- rather than attempting to cover the entire 96'-long pen, the cam is mounted under the "Raptor Tower". When NX is on the south side of A3, she will be in view -- though in this large enclosure, may still be difficult to see! The staff is not able to pan this Critter Cam.
An overview of the A3 set-up:
April 10 update
NX was caught up today for radiographs -- just to check on the status of her healing shoulder. Everything appeared within normal limits and Dr. Miranda reports that NX has a normal range of motion in both wings. NX's third toe on her left foot had a small crack on it; the veterinary team applied New Skin as well as some ointment to both feet. They'll continue to monitor her during the bi-weekly foot and feather checks.
April 16 update
NX’s latest set of radiographs [April 10] show signs of improvement – the shoulder injury and all of the associated issues with that injury have been healing nicely. The boney changes that were first seen in NX’s humerus in February show much improvement, and the joint spaces of both shoulders appear appropriate. Dr. Miranda is not expecting that future radiographs will be needed.
With that in mind, the veterinary team is thinking ahead toward NX’s ultimate release. NX is currently flying the length of A3 about 5-6 times during each exercise session; while the team would like to see her flying more, NX is proving to be a very stubborn bird. The rehabilitation staff will continue to exercise NX and monitor her progress. On April 17, NX will be moved to A1 – and will be living with Bald Eagle #11-0136. The staff hope that having an adult eagle roommate will convince NX to fly more.
In the meantime, Dr. Dave has been in touch with DGIF eagle biologist Jeff Cooper about NX’s transmitter. Dr. Dave would like to get the transmitter back on NX prior to Release Day – so that she has some weeks to adjust to the “GPS backpack” again. Jeff Cooper will be out sometime during the week of April 16 for the transmitter fitting.
At this point, the Center has not set a release date or timeframe for NX – the staff would like to get the transmitter on her, and continue to exercise and condition NX for release.
April 17 update
NX was moved to flight pen A1 and was introduced to Bald Eagle #11-0136 -- all seems to be going well so far. Both birds have been seen flying the length of the enclosure and sitting on the same perch. With all the latest Critter Cam shuffling and the transition to the webcam network, the staff need to acquire an additional length of cable to hook up a cam in A1. The staff hope to have this done by the end of this week.
In the meantime, here are some photos of NX and her new roommate:
April 18 update
Day two of rooming with Bald Eagle #11-0136 is going well -- so well, in fact, that the rehabilitation staff reported that NX flew today -- and not just a little! NX reportedly flew the length of A1 ten times during this morning's exercise session. This is the most flight the staff have been able to coax out of her yet.
April 23 update
NX was caught up today for a foot and feather check, as well as a weigh-in. Dr. Adam reports that all is well with NX; many of her tail feathers are "in blood" -- meaning they are growing in from her annual molt. NX's current weight is 4.30 kg. NX was not exercised today, since she flew the length of the A-pen several times during her catch-up; however, the rehabilitation staff report that she has been flying well during her exercise sessions. Since moving in with roommate Bald Eagle #11-0136, NX has been flying much more -- averaging about 10 to 15 lengths of the 100 foot-long enclosure.
Dr. Dave is coordinating with the DGIF eagle biologist to schedule a date when NX will be fitted with her GPS transmitter. Dr. Dave would like to get the transmitter back on NX prior to Release Day – so that she has some weeks to adjust to the “GPS backpack” again.
April 24 update
The DGIF eagle biologist will be coming to the Wildlife Center around 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 25 to fit NX with her GPS transmitter again.
April 25 update
The DGIF eagle biologist had to reschedule his visit to the Wildlife Center to Thursday morning, April 26. He should arrive sometime early (between 9:00 and 10:00) to fit NX with her transmitter.
April 26 update
NX was caught-up this morning and brought into the hospital so that the DGIF eagle biologist and staff could fit her with her GPS transmitter. First, NX's feet were wrapped with vet wrap -- to keep everyone safe during the process!
The fitting went well, and NX was returned to A1 with her Bald Eagle "roommate".
May 9 update
NX has been flying well for the past couple of weeks -- it appears as though having an adult eagle roommate encourages her to fly more than when she's housed solo! The veterinary team caught NX up on May 7 for a foot and feather check and weight check -- all is within normal limits. NX continues to molt -- she has two blood feathers growing in on her left wing, three on the right, and four tail feathers "in blood."
On May 10, NX will play a special part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony of flight pen A3. Participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony will be Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech and Bob Duncan, Director of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. NX will be moved into A3 once again when the ribbon-cutting ceremony is over, while the Chesapeake Bald Eaglet is moved into the Raptor Tower portion of the flight pen.
May 11 update
NX was moved into A3 on May 10, after the special ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication of the new flight pen. Already NX has been spotted on the two high perches in the enclosure [via Critter Cam], checking out her new young eagle roommate -- the Chesapeake Bald Eaglet that is being housed in a nest in the raptor tower. Her most recent adult roommate, Bald Eagle #12-0001 (also from Chesapeake) will be moved into A3 today.
Check out the video from yesterday's ribbon-cutting ceremony -- NX announces her presence as she reaches A3!
May 14 update
NX has been flying well in A3 for the past few days – overall, she’s been flying the length of her enclosures approximately 10-12 times during each exercise session since mid-April. The staff are pleased with her recovery from her December 2011 injury.
With medical clearance from the veterinary staff, a Wednesday, May 16 release is being planned for NX. She will be returned to the Northern Neck area of Virginia. This release will not be open to the public, though photos will be taken and will be added to the Center’s website as soon as possible after the release.
Dr. Miranda and rehabilitator Suzy will catch up NX on the morning of Wednesday, May 16, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. EST. They will prepare her for release by placing bumpers on her wings while she travels to her release location.
May 16 update -- Release Day!
Bald Eagle NX was caught up this morning at about 8:30 a.m. for release. Dr. Miranda and rehab intern Kelli brought NX into the hospital and placed protective bumpers on her "wrists" before placing her in her travel crate. The protective bumpers are piece of soft foam padding, designed to cushion NX's wings during travel. The bumpers will be removed prior to her release.
12:20 p.m. update:
Wildlife Center President Ed Clark called in to report "from the field" -- NX's release went very well. She was released at 12:10 p.m. at the Rapphannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Ed reports that NX flew 75 yards into a tall tree, and sat there for about five minutes, taking in her surroundings. She then flew through the woods, over an estuary, and into the forest, out of sight. According to Ed, NX did "everything she's supposed to do!"
Photos property of Jim Deal: