Bald Eagle #14-1767

July 30, 2014
September 12, 2014
Rescue Location
Northampton County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Former Patient
Patient photo

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On July 23, a juvenile Bald Eagle was found on the ground and unable to fly on a barrier island in Northampton County . The rescuer easily captured the bird and brought it to the Eastern Shore Animal Hospital for treatment. Upon arrival at the animal hospital, the bird was very thin, dehydrated, depressed, and covered in mud. The rescuer noted a slight wing droop in the bird’s right wing when it was first found, however, the droop was not present when it was examined by one of the hospital’s veterinarians. Radiographs were taken to investigate the possible wing droop and an emergency blood panel was performed on the bird — no abnormalities were found. The eagle was given fluids and it quickly improved in a few short hours. The bird was then transferred to a local wildlife rehabilitator.

The juvenile Bald Eagle improved within several days and appeared ready for release on July 29. When a release was attempted, the eagle flew a short distance before it grounded. The bird was recaptured and transported to the Wildlife Center on July 30 for further evaluation.

Upon admission to the Wildlife Center, Bald Eagle #14-1767 was quiet, alert, and responsive. Dr. Helen Ingraham, the Center’s veterinary fellow, performed the initial exam. Possible mild hemorrhages were noted in both of the bird’s eyes, but the veterinary staff were unable to find any apparent injuries that indicate why the eagle was found unable to fly. The Wildlife Center staff estimate the eagle is a young bird and hatched earlier this year.

On July 31, a more in-depth ocular exam was performed. Dr. Helen and Dr. Dave McRuer, the Center’s director of veterinary services found a small retinal scar in the back the bird’s right eye and signs of old retinal healing in the left eye. Both of these findings are not overly concerning and will not prevent the eagle’s release.

On August 1, Bald Eagle #14-1767 was moved to a larger outdoor flight pen [A2]. At first the eagle was often observed perching and walking around its enclosure, but was unwilling to fly. A few days later, the rehabilitation staff noticed the juvenile Bald Eagle flying to low perches and on August 5, decided to begin the bird on flight conditioning. During the following two weeks, the eagle proved to be a stubborn, but capable flyer. The bird frequently flies more than seven passes end to end, but must rest often. The rehabilitation staff will continue to exercise the bird to help increase its stamina and evaluate its flying abilities during the next few weeks.

 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.


Patient Updates

Bald Eaglets #14-1767 and #14-1903 were successfully released in Northampton County at Kiptopeke State Park on Friday, September 12. The weather at the release site was overcast and cool with a slight breeze—perfect conditions for a Bald Eagle release.

 More than 200 individuals were in attendance, including the Center’s rehabilitation intern Jordan Herring, who helped rehabilitate the two birds. It was the first Bald Eagle release for more than half the guests who attended.

President Ed Clark released the two eaglets. The first bird released was Bald Eagle #14-1767. When the bird was released, it quickly flew off toward a grove of trees, and swiftly faded from sight.

Bald Eagle #14-1903 was released shortly after. The bird was very feisty and more difficult to remove from its transport crate. As soon as the bird was launched into the air, it circled around once above the crowd before it also flew into the distance and out of view.

Double Bald Eagle Release at Kiptopeke State Park

Photos courtesy of Virginia Beach Audubon Society

Photo courtesy of Steve Coari

Bald Eagles #14-1767 and 14-1903 have been flying well during the past week – at each exercise session, both birds have been flying the length of the flight pen an average of 18 times. The veterinary team has declared the two birds ready for release.

Both Eastern Shore birds will be released back in Northampton County at Kiptopeke State Park on Friday, Sept 12 at 12:30 p.m. The eagles will be released by president Ed Clark. Kiptopeke is a major flyway for migratory birds and is within 10 miles of where each bird was rescued. The release is open to the public; visitors attending the release are asked to meet at the picnic area at Kiptopeke. Please RSVP to

On August 20, Bald Eagle #14-1767 was moved to flight pen A1 for further observation and additional exercise. The eagle has been flying the length of its enclosure an average of 10-14 during the past few weeks, though has been inconsistent in the quality of its flight. Some days, the eagle flies with good altitude and stamina; on other days, the eagle misses perches and tires halfway through the exercise session. The eagle has also displayed an intermittent left wing droop.

Daily exercise and monitoring will continue. The eagle is eating well and currently weighs 3.84 kg.