Bald Eagle #12-0744

May 10, 2012
August 2, 2012
Rescue Location
Surry County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On May 9, a Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist rescued this non-banded juvenile Bald Eagle at the Hog Island Wildlife Management Area in Surry County, Virginia. At present, few details are available about the circumstances of its rescue. It was admitted to the Wildlife Center on the afternoon of May 10, 2012.

Upon examination, the eagle presented as thin but not emaciated. Though it was standing on admission, when vets caught it up for a physical exam, the eagle was observed lying down in its cage and hanging its head. Though these symptoms can sometimes indicate lead poisoning, lead levels in patient #12-0744’s blood were less than 0.033ppm — lower than the Center’s lead analyzer can read.

At first, Dr. Miranda Sadar thought she felt an abnormality in the eagle’s right shoulder, but an initial look at radiographs did not reveal any defects. The eagle is currently being treated like an emaciated bird, though it is possible that it is suffering from some kind of infection. Additional bloodwork will be taken on May 11; in the meantime, the eagle will be tube fed and gradually moved to whole food.

This eagle is currently being housed in the Center’s holding area.

Patient Updates

Bald Eagle #12-0744 was released today at Berkeley Plantation just outside of Richmond, Virginia. President Ed Clark released the bird in front of a crowd of about 110 people at 11:00 a.m. Center Vice President Randy Huwa reports that the eagle did an immediate u-turn and flew across a field to perch in a tall tree. The eagle was flying well, and disappeared into the trees. About 20 minutes later, Randy reported that some release attendees saw the bird flying again out of sight.

Photos property and courtesy of Barbara Melton: 

Photos of Berkeley Plantation, property and courtesy of MVK: 

Photos property of and courtesy of Linda Vetter:

Eagle Release in the News
Bald Eagles Soaring Toward Recovery in Virginia, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Bald Eagle #12-0744 was caught up for a foot and feather check on July 23, as well as a set of radiographs and blood work. The veterinary team is satisfied with radiograph results, and blood work was all within normal limits. The rehabilitation staff report that #12-0744 has been flying well for weeks — they are pleased with its stamina and conditioning. The staff moved the Bald Eagle from flight pen A2 to flight pen A1 — so the eagle is now sharing space with Bald Eagles #12-0992 and #12-0739.

With a positive health report, the veterinary staff have cleared the Bald Eagle for release. The Wildlife Center staff will be working on release details, and will share them once they are set.

Bald Eagle #12-0744 was caught up today for additional blood work and another set of radiographs. Dr. Adam reports that the eagle’s spleen is unchanged from the last set of radiographs, though the eagle’s blood work does show signs of improvement. The course of antibiotics will be discontinued and the eagle will have follow-up radiographs and blood work on July 23.

The eagle currently weighs in at 2.93 kgs.

Bald Eagle #12-0744 was caught up on Tuesday, June 12 for blood work — so that the staff could best decide when this bird could be released. There were some signs of infection in the blood work — enough abnormalities that Dr. Miranda prescribed a course of antibiotics. The eagle will be monitored in the weeks ahead; additional blood work will be analyzed in two weeks.

Rehabilitator Amber reports that the eagle is feisty — and is flying around the enclosure.

Bald Eagle #12-0744 received another set of radiographs on June 10 — a set of follow-up x-rays to check on the status of the eagle’s enlarged spleen. Dr. Adam reports an improvement, though the spleen is still slightly enlarged.

Otherwise, Bald Eagle #12-0744 appears to be in great shape. The one-year-old bird is flying very well; the veterinary staff hope to release this bird sometime this month. For now, the eagle has been moved to flight pen A2 — next door to the enclosure where the three fledgling eaglets are housed. By housing the eagle by itself, the staff will better be able to monitor the bird during exercise sessions. The Bald Eagle will also have the best chance of putting on a little more weight prior to release.

Additional radiographs of Bald Eagle #12-0744 were taken on Monday, May 28 — overall, results were within normal limits, though the veterinary team noted that the eagle’s spleen was still enlarged — something that was present on its initial radiographs. This typically indicates some sort of lingering infection, so the veterinary team will continue monitoring the bird’s blood work, and will take another set of radiographs in two weeks.

After Monday’s radiographs, Bald Eagle #12-0744 rejoined its roommates, eaglets #12-0529 and #12-0739, in flight pen A1. Because there will be work done on flight pen A3 next week, and Critter Cam viewers have seen, first-hand, the issues we’re currently having with A3 (birds hanging from the roof), the trio of eagles had to be moved.

The eagle continues to eat well.

Bald Eagle #12-0744 was moved to the Raptor Tower portion of A3 late in the afternoon on May 24. After the rehabilitation staff wrapped the raptor tower balcony perch in astroturf, they closed the doors of the raptor tower to give the juvenile eagle some time to acclimate to the new enclosure — and its new roommates, Bald Eaglets #12-0529 and #12-0739. The raptor tower door should be opened later today.

Bald Eagle #12-0744 was moved to a small outdoor raptor enclosure on May 21. The veterinary team report that the eagle has been eating whole food since May 20, and the bird is bright and alert. The eagle has been gaining weight.

Since there are no other known problems with the young Bald Eagle, the Wildlife Center staff are ready to try the eagle out in a larger flight area. The eagle will be moved to flight pen A3 today — joining two Bald Eaglets that are currently featured on Critter Cam.

The vet staff continue to tube-feed Bald Eagle #12-0744; they report that the bird is fairly bright and alert and has been perching in its large airline crate. The additional blood work that was performed on May 12 indicated a possible infection, though Dr. Adam noted that the changes seen could also be a result of the bird’s thin, malnourished condition.

Tube-feeding will continue over the next couple of days and follow-up blood work will be performed on May 19. If all is well, the bird should be able to move outside at that point. Another set of radiographs will be taken on May 28.