Bald Eagle #14-0380

April 24, 2014
June 13, 2014
Rescue Location
Northampton County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Unable to fly
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On April 23, a mature Bald Eagle was found down on the ground in Northampton County, on the Eastern Shore. The eagle was captured by an officer with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries – the bird was not able to fly. After briefly visiting a veterinarian, the eagle was transferred to a permitted rehabilitator in Virginia Beach, before it was driven to the Wildlife Center on April 24 by a volunteer transporter.

Dr. Kristin Britton, the Center’s veterinary intern, examined the Bald Eagle when it arrived. The mature bird was alert but dehydrated; Dr. Kristin found bruising on the right side of the eagle’s face as well as on its left patagium [leading edge of the wing]. Radiographs revealed an old, well-aligned fracture of the eagle’s right major and minor metacarpal bones. The veterinary team administered fluids and began a course of anti-inflammatories before placing the bird in the Center’s holding room. The eagle is banded; Dr. Dave, the Center’s veterinary director, submitted information to the banding lab for details.

After the eagle receives additional fluids, the bird will likely be placed in a small outdoor enclosure for further observation.

The Center depends on the donations of caring individuals to provide veterinary care to wildlife and training in wildlife veterinary medicine. Please help!

Patient Updates

Bald Eagle #14-0380 was successfully released today at Belle Isle State Park in Lancaster County, Virginia. Vet director Dr. Dave and outreach coordinator Raina arrived at Belle Isle at 12:30 p.m. and greeted release attendees at the crowd gathered. About 65 people were in attendance.

At 1:00 p.m., Dr. Dave shared the story of Bald Eagle #14-0380. He then retrieved the eagle from its crate, and tossed the bird into the air. The Bald Eagle flew away from the crowd … and kept flying. The crowd watched as the eagle disappeared into the horizon.

Dr. Dave and Raina began their journey back home – and helped out two other wild animals along the way! An Eastern Box Turtle and a Red-bellied Cooter were both spotted within a few miles of each other, attempting to cross the road. Dr. Dave and Raina were able to safely pull over, and they helped the turtles cross the road in the direction in which they were headed.

Bald Eagle #14-0380 has been flying well during the past two weeks. The veterinary team caught the eagle on June 9 so that Dr. Rich could examine the wound on the eagle’s wing; Dr. Rich found that the small wound had healed, and he removed the sutures. A blood sample was drawn for analysis; results came back within normal limits. Dr. Rich cleared the Bald Eagle for release.

Bald Eagle #14-0380 will be released at Belle Isle State Park on Friday, June 13 at 1:00 p.m. Dr. Dave McRuer, the Center’s veterinary director, will be releasing the Bald Eagle. The release is open to the public; attendees should plan on meeting at the Belle Island Visitor Center prior to the release. If you plan on attending, please RSVP to


Bald Eagle #14-0380 has been exercising well in flight pen A1 during the past two weeks. On May 23, the eagle’s roommate [Bald Eagle #14-0450] was moved to A2 so that the staff could better exercise and evaluate both eagles. Eagle #14-0380 has been flying an average of 12 times perch-to-perch during each exercise session – while the eagle is known for over-shooting the perches, the rehabilitation team notes that the eagle is a strong flier.

On May 26, the eagle was caught-up during outdoor rounds so that the veterinary team could re-check the wound on the tip of the eagle’s right wing. The wound was still present, with some discharge, so Dr. Rich cleaned the wound and applied several skin staples to close the wound and promote faster healing. A long protective bumper was placed over the eagle’s wing. The sutures will be checked and removed on June 7.

The rehabilitation staff will continue daily exercise of the eagle, and work on building the bird’s stamina.

On May 19, Bald Eagle #14-0380 was caught up for a foot and feather check. The veterinary team noted a small abrasion on the tip of the eagle’s right wing; the wound was cleaned, and the eagle’s carpal bumpers were reapplied to offer more protection. Two blood feathers are growing in on the eagle’s right wing.

On May 20, the eagle was moved to flight pen A1, where it joined Bald Eagle #14-0450. Both birds will be exercised daily.

Bald Eagle #14-0380 has been doing well in flight pen A3 in the past week. The eagle is being exercised daily; the rehabilitation staff report that the bird can fly well for about eight passes before it tires and flies to the ground. The staff will continue to exercise the bird so that it can build stamina and strength.

Dr. Dave received information about the Bald Eagle’s band on May 13. Due to a computer system upgrade, the information was not available in online records, but the eagle’s bander was able to look up the information in paper records. The eagle was banded in 2010 or 2011 at a landfill in Luray, Virginia — about 180 miles away from the rescue site. The eagle was a mature adult at that time, which means that the eagle is currently at least eight years old, if not older.

As the eagle continues to recover, it will take on an additional duty at the Wildlife Center — serving as a "role model" for two young Bald Eaglets!  The two eaglets were placed in the enclosed tower of flight pen A3 on the afternoon of May 13. The eaglets can see and hear Bald Eagle #14-0380.

On April 29, the rehabilitation team moved Bald Eagle #14-0380 to Flight Pen 2. This larger space allowed the eagle to move around more. The bird has been bright, alert, and eating well.

On May 7, the eagle will be moved to flight pen A3, an approximately 100-foot long enclosure. The staff should be able to better assess the eagle’s flight capabilities with its old wing fracture in this larger space.

No banding results have come back yet.

On April 25, Bald Eagle #14-0380 was moved to a small outdoor enclosure so that the staff can monitor the bird’s attitude and ability to fly.

The eagle is perching well and the bruising on its face and patagium is resolving. The staff will continue to observe the bird before moving it to a larger enclosure.

Dr. Dave is waiting on more information about this eagle from the banding facility.