Bald Eagle #16-2217 [CP93]

October 2, 2016
November 23, 2016
Rescue Location
Portsmouth, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Injured during a fight with another eagle
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On October 2, animal control officers in Portsmouth, Virginia answered a call about two adult Bald Eagles down on the ground with their talons locked together. The two eagles were likely engaged in a territorial dispute. A Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries officer responded to the situation; when the officer approached the two eagles, one of the birds flew away. The remaining injured bird was captured and transported to Nature’s Nanny Wildlife Rehabilitation, where the eagle was stabilized before being transferred to the Wildlife Center.

Bald Eagle #16-2217 was bright, alert, and feisty during the initial exam at the Wildlife Center. The bird was in good body condition, but had suffered lacerations on the left half of the chest and right shoulder as well as minor abrasions near the eyes and legs. Radiographs also showed signs of internal trauma.

The veterinary team cleaned the wounds on the shoulder, head, and legs, and sutured the laceration on the chest. They administered pain medication and started the bird on antibiotics the following morning to prevent infection in the abrasions and lacerations.

Staff will monitor the eagle’s attitude and the healing progress of the chest laceration and other wounds. The team hopes that the bird will be able to be released after a relatively short stay at the Wildlife Center.

Your special donation will help the Center to provide care to this Bald Eagle … and all of the patients admitted in 2016. Please help! 

Patient Updates

Bald Eagle #16-2217 was released on Wednesday, November 23, in front of a crowd of about 125 people. The bird took off and flew straight away from the crowd, through the trees, and out of sight.

Video from Lona Wilson:

Bald Eagle Release In the News: 

Bald Eagle Released After Rehabilitation at Wildlife Center of Virginia, NBC29-TV

Bald eagle injured in Portsmouth rehabilitated and returned to the wild in Surry, WTKR-TV

Wildlife Center of Virginia releases rehabilitated bald eagle in Surry,

Rehabilitated eagle flies its way to freedom in Va. (Photos), WTOP

Bald Eagle #16-2217 has been flying beautifully with the GPS transmitter this week, and today, Dr. Dave determined that the bird is ready for release next week.

The eagle will be released at Chippokes Plantation State Park on Wednesday, November 23 at 1:00 p.m. The release is open to the public; attendees should meet at the park’s visitor center. Those who wish to attend the release should RSVP to

Bald Eagle #16-2217 has been flying well during the past two weeks. The eagle’s flight is strong, and the bird typically flies more than 15 passes during each exercise session.

On Monday, November 14, blood work was drawn for pre-release analysis and Dr. Dave fitted the eagle with a GPS transmitter in preparation for release. The eagle will be a part of an ongoing research study that will monitor eagle movements. This study looks at the data received from these tracked Bald Eagles to determine the range and behavior of Bald Eagles in Virginia’s coastal plain. Migratory behavior is studied as biologists are able to see how far Bald Eagles move in the winter season, and the data will play an important role in modeling how these birds use airspace. By looking at heights at which the eagles fly, average distances, and other specifics, biologists are able to relate this eagle behavior to real-life issues, such as airstrike data.

For the Wildlife Center, this is a fantastic opportunity for additional post-release studies of our rehabilitated raptors. There have been very few studies done in this area. The Wildlife Center will be able to see and share GPS data; the bird will be added to the Eagle Tracking page on our website.

The eagle was returned to flight pen A3 [on Critter Cam!] for additional exercise and monitoring while wearing the GPS backpack. On Friday, Dr. Dave will make a final assessment and determine if the eagle is possibly ready for release next week.

Bald Eagle #16-2217 has been doing well during the past two weeks. The eagle’s lacerations have healed completely, and the bruising and swelling on the eagle’s chest and shoulder have greatly improved. On October 13, the eagle was moved to a small outdoor enclosure for two days of monitoring; since the eagle appeared to be doing well, the bird was moved to a large flight pen on October 15. The eagle will be exercised daily so that it can regain its flight condition for release.