Bald Eagle #12-2442

October 7, 2012
November 1, 2012
Rescue Location
King and Queen County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On October 5, an animal control officer rescued a mature Bald Eagle at the King and Queen County landfill. The eagle was taken to a permitted rehabilitator for an initial examination and radiographs, and then was transported to the Wildlife Center on October 7.

Upon admission, the eagle was quiet, but was standing in its transport crate. Dr. Dana, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the bird, but couldn’t find any significant injuries. Blood was drawn for an emergency panel and a lead test. Lead results measured at 0.13 ppm – a level that is considered “subclinical” and does not require treatment. Dr. Dana also took a set of radiographs, but did not see any injuries. Dr. Dana did note what appeared to be two pieces of metal in the eagle’s stomach. Because the eagle’s lead level was low, and it was not exhibiting any neurological symptoms, Dr. Dana does not believe this should be an issue for the eagle. Weighing in at 4.59 kgs, it’s likely that this eagle is a female.

Because a bacterial or viral infection could not be ruled out, Dr. Dana started the eagle on a course of antibiotics, as well as subcutaneous fluids. The eagle was placed in the Center’s holding room for overnight observation. On October 8, the Bald Eagle was bright and alert – and was bouncing around in its enclosure. The veterinary team decided to move the eagle outside to a large flight pen – A1 – for further observation.

When the eagle was placed in the flight pen, the bird flew the length of the flight pen two times before landing on the ground. While the eagle can get lift, it appeared to tire very easily. The staff will continue to monitor the bird – with the assistance of a new Axis PTZ [pan-tilt-zoom] cam in A1. At this point, the cam is only available for internal observation, and is not available for streaming through the Center’s website – yet!

Patient Updates

Bald Eagle #12-2442 was successfully released today at Zoar State Forest. A crowd of about 20 people gathered as President Ed Clark released the eagle in a field. Rehabilitators Amber and Kelli, along with several extern students, were in attendance. Kelli provided updates from the field, and told us, "She’s just soaring up above us! Gorgeous! Perfect release!" A minute later, she said, "Just a speck in the sky now way up there!"

Photos of the Release

Bald Eagle Release November 2012

Video courtesy of Henry Davey-Wraight

On October 29, the Wildlife Center veterinary staff examined Bald Eagle #12-2442 and drew blood for a pre-release analysis. The eagle received medical clearance for release — and now that Hurricane Sandy has passed through Virginia, a release has been scheduled!

Bald Eagle #12-2442 will be released on Thursday, November 1 at Zoar State Forest in Aylett [4445 Upshaw Rd], Virginia. Ed Clark will be releasing the bird at 11:30 a.m.  Those attending the release should gather at the State Forest Office – the historic Mount Zoar home.

This release is free and open to the public, and we’d love to have you join us. Please feel free to share this invitation with family, friends, and other wildlife enthusiasts. If you are planning to attend, please RSVP to

Bald Eagle #12-2442 continues to be difficult for the rehabilitation staff to assess, but the eagle does appear to be able to fly from the ground to high perches and is not exhibiting a wing droop or other issues. On October 25, the rehabilitation staff moved the eagle to flight pen A3, in hopes that the eagle would not try to hang on the ceiling of this higher flight pen. The eagle is missing several feathers on its head from where it bumped into the ceiling in flight pen A1.

The eagle will have blood drawn on Monday, October 29 for analysis. If the blood work and physical exam are satisfactory, the staff will start thinking about release in the next week.

Bald Eagle #12-2442 continues to recover in flight pen A1. After a few days of not eating, the eagle finally began to pick at a diet of rats and fish, and currently is eating well. The rehabilitation staff note that this seems to be a very high-stress eagle – while the eagle is able to fly, it is very hard to assess its flight capabilities. Each time a staff member goes into the eagle’s enclosure, the eagle typically flies to the ceiling and attempts to hang there for a few moments. Because the eagle is not flying the length of the enclosure perch-to-perch, it is difficult for the staff to assess the eagle’s endurance. The staff will continue to monitor the eagle, particularly via internal webcam, over the next couple of weeks.