Bald Eagle #15-1312 [BI78]

June 24, 2015
October 22, 2015
Rescue Location
Northumberland County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Unable to fly
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On June 24, a hatch-year female Bald Eagle was found on the ground in Northumberland County by Animal Control Officer Kevin Keeve. The eaglet was taken to wildlife rehabilitator Diana O’Connor for immediate care. Diana noted that the bird’s primary feather shafts were infested with maggots, but the young eagle had no other abnormalities. The feathers were flushed with Capstar [an anti-parasitic medication] and the Bald Eagle was transported the Center the following day.

During the initial exam, Bald Eagle #15-1312 was bright, alert, and responsive. Dr. Helen and Dr. Meghan noted that there was damage to multiple feathers shafts on each of the eagle’s wings. Blood work and radiographs were unremarkable. The eagle was given fluids and supportive care before it was placed in the Center’s holding room overnight with a meal of fish and rat.

The following morning, Bald Eagle #15-1312 was bright, alert, and had eaten most of her meal. The veterinary staff noted discharge from the bird’s left primary wing feathers and flushed the areas with Capstar. A maggot was also removed from one of the feather shafts during the flushing. The staff then began the bird on a three-day regimen of antibiotics and anti-inflammitories before the bird was returned to her airline crate in the Center’s holding room.

On June 27, veterinary staff observed no discharge or maggots and cleared the bird to move outside to one of the Center’s C-pens [C1] the next day. The staff will continue to monitor Bald Eagle #15-1312 for any signs of discharge or maggots during the next week and will recheck blood work on July 6.

If Bald Eagle #15-1312 continues to improve, she will be moved to larger flight pen and placed with other young eagle patients.

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 #15-1312 was successfully released today at Belle Isle State Park in front of a crowd of nearly 100 people. Wildlife Center President Ed Clark did the honors, and the bird flew off beautifully. Stay tuned to our Eagle Tracking page to see where this bird travels!



Photos from Bev Miller:


Thanks to Bev Miller for sharing photos of today’s eagle release! It was a great success. Check into the website tomorrow — and in the future — to see where this bird travels!

Posted by Wildlife Center of Virginia on Thursday, October 22, 2015

Photos by Cheryl Kirk:

Bald Eaglet #15-1312 has been flying well during the past few weeks. On Friday, October 16, the veterinary staff drew blood from the young bird for a pre-release analysis. Results were within normal limits and the bird was cleared for release.

Wildlife Center President Ed Clark will release the Bald Eagle on Thursday, October 22, at Belle Isle State Park [1632 Belle Isle Rd., Lancaster, VA] at 11:30 a.m. The release is free and open to the public; attendees should plan to meet at the Visitor’s Center. If attending, please RSVP to

During the last three weeks, the rehabilitation staff has continued to exercise Bald Eaglet #15-1312. At first the young eagle was uncoordinated and only able to make five to seven passes before tiring. As daily exercise sessions continued, the eagle gradually improved in stamina, perching, and maneuverability. By September 18, the eagle was consistently flying 10 or more passes in the A3 flight pen.

On September 23, the rehabilitation staff did another round of “eagle shuffling” and moved Bald Eagles #15-1922 and #15-1261 to the A1 enclosure to give the birds a longer flight pen for exercise and Bald Eagle #15-1312 was placed in flight pen A2. Once Bald Eagle #15-1312 is able to consistently fly at optimal level [15 passes end-to-end], the rehabilitation staff will consider preparing the eagle for release.

Bald Eaglets #15-1312 and 15-1339 have been doing well in flight pen A3 during the past week. As many Critter Cam viewers have noted, the eaglets are still young and spend some of the time laying down on the ground to rest and sleep.

The birds will remain at the Center until they are old enough to be on their own. During that time, the eaglets will receive “foot and feather checks” every two weeks; during these quick examinations, the vets take a close look at the birds’ wings, feathers, legs, and feet to ensure there are no problems while the birds are in captivity. The eaglets are wearing protective “bumpers” on their wings; the slightly padded carpal bumpers help prevent injury to the young birds’ wrists. Colored duct tape on the bumpers also serves as a very useful identification technique. Right now, eaglet #15-1312 is wearing purple bumpers, and #15-1339 is wearing black bumpers.

Both birds are gaining weight. #15-1339, the large female bird, weighs 4.43 kg; #15-1339 weighs 3.50 kg.


Bald Eaglet #15-1312 has been eating well during the past few days and has gained weight; the bird now weighs 3.97 kg. The young eagle is very alert and feisty, and on July 1, was moved to flight pen A3.

Bald Eaglet #15-1339, from Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, is also doing well and will join #15-1312 in A3. The staff believe that these two eaglets are a few weeks older than eaglets #15-0733 and #15-1261, who are currently housed in the loft of A3. The birds will be able to see and hear one another.

Both #15-1339 and #15-1312 will share the large flight space with non-releasable Bald Eagle #13-2076. Bald Eaglet #15-1339 can be identified by its "flamingo" bumpers while #15-1312 is sporting "superman" bumpers. These protective wing bumpers are constructed out of thin padding covered in protective duct tape; they cover the eaglets’ wrist areas and guard against injuries.