Bald Eagle #14-0450

May 1, 2014
June 26, 2014
Rescue Location
King George County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Suspected hit by car
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On May 1, an adult Bald Eagle was admitted to the Wildlife Center. The bird found on the side of the road in King George County, Virginia; the eagle was likely hit by a vehicle.

During the initial examination, Bald Eagle #14-0450 was bright, alert, feisty, and in good body condition. The veterinary team noted some dried blood and bruising as well as some superficial bleeding around the eagle’s left eye. Further examination revealed a small tear in the retina. No other ocular abnormalities were found. The bird’s breathing was also observed to be rapid [indicating possible respiratory trauma].

The Bald Eagle was then anesthetized and radiographs were taken. While there were no broken bones, the staff did find a large leg bone present in the bird’s stomach.

The finding suggests that Bald Eagle #14-0450 was likely scavenging on roadkill when it was injured.

The eagle’s blood was also drawn for analysis. Results revealed subclinical levels of lead toxicosis. Even though the bird is not showing any symptoms or neurological signs that are related to lead toxicity, the staff began the bird on a five-day chelation therapy to reduce the lead levels. After the exam, the bird was given anti-inflammatories and pain medication and placed in the Center’s holding room overnight.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this Bald Eagle … and to the 2,600 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals the Center will treat this year. Please help!

Patient Updates

On June 26, Wildlife Center president Ed Clark and diagnostic intern Rosemary drove Bald Eagle #14-0450 to Lands End Wildlife Management Area for release. A crowd of about 45 people were in attendance to watch the bird’s return to the wild.

After Ed tossed the bird into the sky, the crowd watched as the eagle flew out of sight … and then turned around and headed back, flying overhead in the opposite direction.

Evan Feinman, Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources for Virginia and Ed Clark:

Darin Moore [DGIF] and family with Ed Clark: 

Certified wildlife rehabilitator Amber reports that Bald Eagle #14-0450 has been flying well in flight pen A1. The bird has good height, stamina, and form while flying. As long as exercise continues to go well this weekend, the bird will be scheduled for a pre-release examination and blood work.

On May 23, Bald Eagle #14-0450 was moved to flight pen A2 to better evaluate its flying abilities. Initially, the bird was stubborn and unwilling to fly more than two passes before grounding during flight conditioning sessions. The Bald Eagle also appeared to have difficulty regaining height when flying to its perches. The rehabilitation staff continued to exercise the bird and it gradually began to show improvement.

On June 5, Bald Eagle #14-0450 was able to complete 14 passes and displayed good height, stamina, and form. Four days later, the veterinary staff rechecked the eagle’s feet and feathers. The staff noted an old crack on the bird’s left foot near the base of its second toe and blood work revealed a possibility of mild infection with heteropenia [decreased survival of white blood cells]—suggesting an inflammatory response. The veterinary staff will recheck the eagle’s blood on June 23.

The bird still remains stubborn during flight conditioning sessions, but consistently flies at optimal level. Since the Bald Eagle has been flying well, it will be moved to the Center’s longest flight pen [A1] on June 13.

With its steady improvement, Bald Eagle #14-0450 was moved to one of the Center’s largest flight pens, A1, on May 14. At first the bird had trouble flying to higher perches. To help the eagle build strength, the rehabilitation staff placed a series of lower perches in the enclosure that increased in height. During the following days, the Bald Eagle’s flying abilities improved, and it is now able to reach the swinging perches in the enclosure.

On May 20, Bald Eagle 14-0450 began flight conditioning. The rehabilitation staff will exercise the bird daily until it reaches optimal level — 15 passes end to end. Bald Eagle #14-0450 also gained a roommate on May 20 — the eagle was joined by adult Bald Eagle #14-0380. During the next few weeks, the staff will continue to monitor and exercise the two eagles.

The day after its admission, Bald Eagle #14-0450’s crate was placed in an outdoor C-pen enclosure. The staff needed to keep the eagle in a crate due to the daily chelation therapy, but the team wanted to move the eagle outside and farther away from humans since the bird was otherwise stable.

On May 6, the veterinary team drew blood from the bird and performed another lead analysis; results showed a decreased lead level, requiring no further treatment. A follow-up eye examination revealed that the eagle’s small retinal tear was healing and had diminished in size. The eagle has been taken out of its crate; it was allowed into the main C-pen enclosure. If a flight pen is available later in the week, the Bald Eagle will be moved to a larger space.