Bald Eagle #14-2150

Admitted
September 18, 2014
Released
October 23, 2014
Rescue Location
Accomack County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Suspect toxicity
Status
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On September 17, a male adult Bald Eagle was found face down in a field in Accomack County, Virginia. The rescuer brought the bird to local wildlife rehabilitator Gay Frazee later that day. When Gay examined the eagle, he was dull, minimally responsive, and lying down. The bird was given fluids twice that evening and the following morning, the bird was much brighter and able to stand.

On September 18, the Bald Eagle was transported to the Wildlife Center for further care. The Center’s veterinary intern, Dr. Meghan Feeney, examined the eagle. During the exam, Bald Eagle #14-2150 was quiet, but alert and responsive. Dr. Meghan drew blood for an emergency panel, and the results were unremarkable. An ophthalmic exam was also performed along with an analysis of lead levels in the eagle’s blood — results returned within normal limits. It’s possible that this eagle  suffered from acute toxicity.

After the initial exam, a series of radiographs was taken and revealed an old, healed injury on the bird’s left radius, but showed no other abnormalities. Dr. Meghan gave Bald Eagle #14-2150 more fluids and began a regimen of antibiotics to combat any possible infection. The eagle was placed in a crate in the Center’s holding room and offered a plate of chopped rat overnight. The staff will monitor the bird’s appetite and attitude during the next few days.

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Patient Updates

Bald Eagle #14-2150 was released today at Kiptopeke State Park in front of a crowd of about 60 people. It was very windy on the Eastern Shore, but when president Ed Clark tossed the eagle into the air, the bird flew away, banked left, and soared off over the tree line out of sight.

Photos courtesy of Ron Wrucke:

Photos courtesy of Linda Vetter:

Bald Eagle Release in the News

Bald Eagle #14-2150 has been flying well during the past two weeks. The eagle is able to consistently fly the length of the flight pen an average of 16 times, and has strong flights and good stamina. On Sunday, October 19, the veterinary staff drew blood from the eagle for pre-release diagnostics. Results came back within normal limits, and the eagle was cleared for release.

The eagle will be released on Thursday, October 23 at 12:00 noon at Kiptopeke State Park. The release is open to the public; visitors attending the release are asked to meet at the picnic area at Kiptopeke. Please RSVP to lkegley@wildlifecenter.org.

On October 1, Bald Eagle #14-2150 was moved the A1 enclosure to begin flight conditioning. On the first day of exercise, the bird was uncoordinated, but was able to maintain good height and completed six passes from end to end. The following day, the Bald Eagle grounded once during the session, but was able to quickly fly up to his perches and complete 12 passes.

During the next four days, Bald Eagle #14-2150 continued to fly well and appeared to eat most, if not all, of his meals. The rehabilitation staff plan to keep offering a variety of foods to the eagle and evaluate his flying abilities during daily exercise sessions in the upcoming weeks.

During the weekend, it was difficult to tell if Bald Eagle #14-2150 was eating – some food was disappearing in the A3 enclosure, but most food was untouched, and the staff were unsure as to which eagle (#14-1450 or roommate #14-1955) was eating. A variety of food is being offered – chopped rat, whole rat, and fish.

On September 30, Critter Cam viewers were tasked with monitoring the eagles' eating habits – and viewers noted that both birds were interested in the plate of chopped rat. Both birds ate some of the food.

Exercise started for both birds on September 28. Now that it is confirmed that Bald Eagle #14-2150 is eating, the staff will move the eagle to flight pen A1 for continued exercise. The eagle will be housed by himself, to maximize his exercise sessions and flight conditioning.

Since admission, Bald Eagle #14-2150 has remained bright and alert, but has not eaten on his own. After giving the eagle a wide variety of food for a few days, the veterinary team began force-feeding the eagle to ensure he is consuming enough calories. The eagle was moved to a C-pen enclosure on September 24, but the bird still refused to eat on its own.

Because the eagle is bright, alert, and has no apparent injuries, the veterinary team decided to test the eagle in a larger flight pen. On September 26, the eagle was moved to flight pen A3 – which is also housing Bald Eagle #14-1955. The veterinary team will monitor the eagle’s appetite and ability to fly in this larger space. If the eagle is able to fly well, he may be able to be released in October.