Bald Eagle #13-0037

January 14, 2013
March 8, 2013
Rescue Location
Northumberland County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Hit by vehicle
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On January 13, a mature Bald Eagle was found in the road in Northumberland County. Animal control officer Kevin Keeve picked up the bird and took it to permitted rehabilitator Diana O’Connor. [Some regular Wildlife Center website visitors will remember that Cpl. Keeve was the person who originally rescued Bald Eagle NX]. A volunteer transporter drove the eagle to the Wildlife Center the following day.

The veterinary team found that the eagle had hemorrhaging in its right eye, as well as its left ear. The eagle’s lower beak was also deviated to the right. All of these injuries are consistent with blunt trauma to the eagle’s head – likely due to a collision with a vehicle. The eagle’s eye pressure was elevated, likely due to the head trauma. The veterinary team also noted a cardiac arrhythmia. The team did not palpate any fractures, though the eagle was not stable enough for anesthesia and radiographs.

Blood was drawn to test the eagle for lead toxicity; the diagnostic team found a level of 0.36 ppm. At the Center, anything higher than a 0.2 ppm result warrants treatment; chelation therapy was started. The eagle was given anti-inflammatories and was settled into an oxygen therapy enclosure in the Center’s holding room.

On January 16, the eagle appeared bright and alert, and the veterinary team were not able to hear any heart abnormalities. The eagle was moved to a regular enclosure in the Center’s holding room.

Patient Updates

Bald Eagle #13-0037 was released on Friday, March 8 at the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. About 50 people attended the release, including Officer Kevin Keeve [the eagle’s original rescuer] and several people from the Wildbunch Wildlife Refuge. When Wildlife Center president Ed Clark released the eagle, the bird flew straight out, banked, and started to spiral upward. As the eagle flew up into the sky, another eagle flew in and joined her. They spiraled up and out of sight.

At the suggestion of Officer Keeve and the Northumberland Sheriff’s Office, today’s eagle release was dedicated to the memory of Master Trooper Junius A Walker, a Virginia State Police trooper who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Thursday, March 7 in Dinwiddie County.

Master Trooper Walker was a 40-year veteran of the State Police.

In releasing the eagle, Wildlife Center President Ed Clark said, “State troopers and other safety officers put their lives on the line every day to protect all of us – they truly are public servants and heroes. We pause to remember the life and sacrifice of Master Trooper Walker and extend our condolences to his family, his friends, and his colleagues in the law enforcement community."

Eagle Release in the News

"Bald Eagle Released, Dedicated to Master Trooper J.A. Walker," WTVR-TV

"Bald Eagle Released as Tribute to Master Trooper Walker," WRIC-TV

"Cleared for Takeoff:  Rescued Eagle Takes to Skies," The Free Lance-Star

"Bald Eagle Released", Virginia Public Radio

Photos by Jim Deal:

Photos by Barbara Melton:

Bald Eagle Release Video, by Jim Deal:

Extended Release Video by Jim Deal:

Bald Eagle #13-0037 was caught up today for pre-release blood work and banding. The Bald Eagle’s release is scheduled for Friday, March 8 at 12 noon at the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Area. The release is open to the public; President Ed Clark will rendezvous with release attendees at the Wilna Lodge. Eagle release "regulars" will remember this area as the same location at which Bald Eagle NX was released in May 2012.

For those interested in attending the March 8 release, please email

Dr. Dave observed Bald Eagle #13-0037’s flight in A3 today. He feels that the eagle is a strong flier and is able to hit the very high perches in the Center’s tallest flight enclosure. While the eagle will need blood work and a final check prior to release, Dr. Dave feels that release is in the near future. Stay tuned for additional details – the Bald Eagle could be released within the next week.

Over the past three weeks, the rehabilitation staff have been exercising Bald Eagle #13-0037 each day. Rehabilitator Amber notes that the eagle is flying the length of the pen about 10-12 times each session. The flights are good, though the eagle often overshoots one of the perches and flies to the wall of the enclosure. Amber isn’t sure if this is something that occurs because of a particular injury that the eagle sustained, or if it’s just a trick of the lighting in the flight pen and the eagle thinks it may be able to escape. To further test the eagle’s flight capabilities, it will be moved on February 26 to flight pen A3.

Bald Eagle #13-0037 was caught up on February 11 for follow-up blood work. Dr. Rich examined the lab work and noted that the eagle still  has an elevated AST – one kind of liver enzyme – though this has improved since the eagle’s last blood work. All other blood work was within normal limits, suggesting that the eagle continues to improve.

The rehabilitation staff will continue to exercise this eagle over the next couple of weeks. The eagle is currently flying the length of the enclosure about eight times before it becomes winded.

Bald Eagle #13-0037 continues to reside in the Center’s A-1 flight pen. The eagle is eating well and is able to fly the length of the enclosure and land on the high swinging perches.

On January 28, additional blood work was performed on the Bald Eagle.  Once again, the blood work showed some elevated liver values, suggesting a possible issue with the bird’s liver. Because the other blood values were within normal limits, this may not be a cause for concern. Additional blood work will be performed on February 11. In the meantime, the bird appears to be bright and alert, and the staff will continue to monitor the eagle.

The veterinary team drew blood from Bald Eagle #13-0037 on January 18 for another lead analysis after chelation therapy ended. They found that the eagle’s lead levels were much reduced; further treatment was not needed. Additional blood work was also performed and the team found that the eagle had one elevated liver value, though other aspects of the blood work were within normal limits. This particular result suggested that the eagle may have some muscle damage or liver damage, though another specific liver-function test was also within normal limits. Because the eagle appeared to be bright and alert, the veterinary team decided to simply monitor the bird for the time being and to schedule follow-up blood work on January 21.

On January 24, the eagle was moved to flight pen A1 for further monitoring.