On July 22, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries conducted a surprise inspection of a wildlife rehabilitation facility in eastern Virginia, which resulted in the seizure of several birds of prey. Among them was Bald Eagle #16-1664 which was transferred to the Wildlife Center for evaluation and care. No medical records were sent with the birds, but social media reports state that this young eagle hatched earlier this year in Virginia Beach, and is the offspring of "ND", a Bald Eagle that hatched at Norfolk Botanical Garden in 2010.
In May, biologists with the Center for Conservation Biology banded the eaglets in the nest and found that this young eaglet had a left leg injury. The bird, likely a male, was reportedly taken to a local veterinarian, where it was treated for a left leg fracture and later treated for a left wing fracture.
When the eaglet was admitted to the Wildlife Center, Dr. Ernesto was able to see the remodeled bones in the eaglet's left leg, which had contracted the leg about 12% of its original length. The bird's left radius and ulna had been fractured close to the carpal ["wrist"] joint, and Dr. Ernesto could see signs of sclerosis [increased opacity or "whiteness"] in the joint on radiographs. This is a sign that the bones are remodeling after a fracture and/or are inflamed. The veterinary team is concerned about the bird's ability to fly with the compromised joint, which also could be a source of chronic pain for the bird. The eagle will need to be assessed in a larger flight pen to determine how well the eagle can fly and if the bird will be releasable. The veterinary team doesn’t anticipate any significant issues with the healed leg injury, but will also be monitoring for signs of bumblefoot.