Bald Eagle #12-0851

May 18, 2012
June 7, 2012
Rescue Location
King George County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Likely hit by car
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On May 17, a three-year-old Bald Eagle was found on its back near a road in King George County, Virginia. The eagle was taken to Wildbunch Wildlife Refuge in Richmond County and was stabilized with fluids; the bird was not able to stand. The eagle, patient #12-0851, was admitted to the Wildlife Center on May 18.

Dr. Adam and three veterinary students performed the eagle’s physical examination – they found that the eagle was laying down in its enclosure when it was first admitted, though perked up and struggled as it was caught up for the examination. The bird appeared to have feeling in both legs and feet, though the withdrawl response was a little slower in the right foot. The eagle was also tested for lead; results came back at a low, yet measureable level. Since no clinical signs were seen, treatment was not started. Due to the eagle’s size – a hefty 4.41 kgs – the staff suspects that the eagle is female.

Because the eagle was in good body condition, the team suspects that the bird may have been hit by a car – and was found soon after the collision. Dr. Adam started the bird on a course of anti-inflammatories and placed the bird in the oxygen chamber in the Center’s surgery suite for overnight oxygen therapy.

On the morning of May 19, the eagle was alert – and feisty!  The eagle was moved to an indoor enclosure in the Center’s holding room. By Sunday, May 20, the eagle was perching and was bright and alert in its enclosure. Dr. Adam felt that the eagle was stable enough for radiographs; the digital films revealed that everything was within normal limits.

Bald Eagle #12-0851 was moved to an outdoor enclosure – a C-pen – on Tuesday, May 22. The veterinary team will continue monitoring the injured eagle, and if all goes well, the bird will soon be moved to a larger flight pen.

Patient Updates

Release! President Ed Clark released Bald Eagle #12-0851 at the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge today. Ed reports that everything went “perfectly”, and that the eagle was “nothing if not feisty!” There were 25-30 people in attendance. After the eagle was launched, the bird flew about 60 yards before taking a sharp left towards a lake — and then flying through more trees, around behind the crowd, and then off and out of sight.

Release photos property of Barbara Melton.

Bald Eagle #12-0851 continues to fly very well — while the rehabilitation staff are not exercising the five eagles in A1 [too many in a pen to exercise at once!], the veterinary team carefully assessed the eagle on Monday, June 4. Dr. Dave and Dr. Miranda were pleased with the eagle’s quick recovery; a release has been scheduled for Thursday, June 7. Bald Eagle #12-0851 will be returned to Richmond County and released at the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge — where NX was released in mid-May. This release is open to the public — for more release details, please click here.

Bald Eagle #12-0851 continues to do well in flight pen A2 – the rehabilitation staff will continue to exercise the eagle throughout the weekend, though on the afternoon of Sunday, June 3, the plan is for this eagle to move next door to flight pen A1 — with the other young Bald Eagles. Ideally, the staff would keep these birds separated so that they can continue to safely exercise the Bald Eagle solo, but with the current need for flight pen space as the roof of A3 is being renovated, the eagle will have to share a space for a few days. Watch the Critter Cam for this addition on Sunday afternoon!

On May 30, the rehabilitation staff did some “eagle shuffling” — moving several of the current Bald Eagle patients — to ensure that there was room in a large flight pen for Bald Eagle #12-0851. The eagle was moved to flight pen A-2 — one of the Center’s three large pens that are ideal for eagles. The rehab staff report that the eagle flew well when she was placed in the pen.

Bald Eagle #12-0851 is still eating intermittently — while she has eaten a little on her own since admission, most nights the Bald Eagle does not pick at the Wildlife Center cuisine of rats, mice, or fish. The veterinary staff have been hand-feeding the bird, though also leave several dining options for the eagle to eat on its own.

The rehabilitation staff will start exercising the Bald Eagle — if all continues to go well, this could be a quick-turnaround!